Singer Who Was An Oil Painting: Artist John Singer Sargent was a famous portrait painter of his day, known for portraying depictions of Edwardian society in the Edwardian period. He was a prolific artist, completing around 900 oil paintings, more than 2,000 watercolors, and many more drawings and preparatory studies throughout his lifetime. Sargent, who was born in Italy to American parents, spent his formative years wandering across Europe.
In 1874, he started official instruction at the Paris studio of Carolus-Duran, where he developed his creative abilities from an early age. From 1878 to 1880, Sargent worked on developing his technique, traveling around Europe and meticulously studying the works of great masters in Holland, Spain, and Venice. Sargent died in 1880.
Many genre pieces, such as Rosina, Capri (1878), and Venetian Bead Stringers (1879), were painted by him while on his travels (1880-1882). Additionally, under the influence of Claude Monet (whom Sargent met at the second Impressionist exhibition in 1876), Sargent experimented with Impressionist methods in his paintings. Painters such as John Singer Sargent and Edward Hopper used the Impressionist method to create landscape paintings such as Washerwomen (ca. 1880) and Landscape at Broadway (1890). (1885).
Sargent was establishing himself as a painter in Paris throughout the late 1870s and early 1880s. His portraits, such as Portrait of Frances Sherborne Ridley Watts (1877), and subject paintings, such as El Jaleo (1877), garnered excellent responses (1882). Sargent’s career suffered a blow in the 1884 Paris Salon when he presented Madame X (1883-1884), a portrait of the young socialite Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau, which was a critical failure for the artist.
From the outset, Sargent’s work is distinguished by great technical competence, notably in his ability to sketch with a brush, which in later years drew both acclaim and condemnation for what was seen to be a superficial quality. His commissioned portraits were in keeping with the monumental style of the time, yet his casual studies and landscape paintings revealed a familiarity with the Impressionist movement.
He voiced ambivalence about the limitations of conventional portraiture in later life, and spent most of his time and energy on mural painting and working en Plein air. From the late nineteenth century until the late twentieth century, art historians mostly neglected painters who depicted Royalty and “Society,” such as John Singer Sargent.
However, although the artwork garnered some positive feedback, it was mostly derided and condemned as an obnoxious show of ego. The picture of Gautreau was supported by Sargent and refused to be taken down, despite rising pressure from Gautreau’s mother, who claimed that the painting was responsible for her daughter’s poor reputation. Sargent left Paris and relocated to London after being disheartened and embarrassed by the affair.
When Sargent moved to England, the controversy surrounding Madame X followed him. London customers were suspicious of Sargent’s “French manner,” and he struggled to acquire commissions. However, in 1887, he presented the work Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885-1886), which depicted two youngsters hanging Chinese lanterns at night. This was a turning point in his career.
The picture wowed both critics and spectators, and Sargent found himself in high demand once again. He had an affluent clientele that included nobles, rich entrepreneurs, artists, and entertainers from both Europe and the United States. It was during the 1890s and early 1900s that his worldwide fame reached its zenith. At the period, Sargent produced portraits of notable personalities such as President Theodore Roosevelt, actress Dame Ellen Terry, and novelist Henry James, among others.