On loan to The Met The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

A Javanese Dancing Girl

John Singer Sargent American

Not on view

One of the centerpieces of the Exposition Universelle, held in Paris in 1889, was the Kampong javanais, a re-creation of a Javanese village. The highlight of the village was a performance of traditional Javanese dance accompanied by gamelan music. The young dancers, who had been brought over with a group of Javanese craftsmen and musicians to represent the native traditions of Dutch Indochina, were treated as celebrities and spectacle. Sargent visited the exposition and was fascinated by the dancers, their costumes, and the expressive symbolism of their dance. He created a series of studies of the individual dancers, perhaps with the idea to create a larger composition. In this unfinished painting, Sargent experiments with the position of a dancer’s left arm and hand and suggests the movement of her feet.

A Javanese Dancing Girl, John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London), Oil on canvas, American

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.