The special exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, on view at the Metropolitan Museum through October 4, 2015, showcases Sargent’s singular portraits of artists, writers, actors, and musicians, many of whom were his close friends.
Sargent (1856–1925) was the leading American portrait painter of his generation. In contrast to his famous society commissions, this unparalleled exhibition features people the artist especially liked or admired, lending many of the works an experimental freedom and informality.
The cast of characters portrayed in the exhibition includes a host of famous names, among them Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin, Gabriel Fauré, W. B. Yeats, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Henry James.
And of course, the Met’s own Madame X is on view, the pseudonym that Sargent assigned to his notorious portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau (left). This striking image appears on selected products, such as our exclusive greeting cards and 2016 calendar.
Some images depict the sun-dappled pleasures of the out-of-doors, where he shows his creative subjects painting and sketching, boating on a canal, or relaxing in a garden. These themes appear in some of our exclusive print reproductions.
Several portraits show Sargent’s subjects wearing fashionable straw sun hats, which were popular during the late nineteenth century and continue to appeal to us today.
In other paintings Sargent sets his subjects in well-appointed, dramatic interiors with glowing lamplight and evocative shadows. Luxurious textiles and jewels often enhance these intimate portrayals, such as his image of Edith and Albert Vickers (below), two of the artist’s most devoted patrons.
Whether depicted en plein air or indoors, these extraordinary works have inspired The Met Store’s special product collection. Explore it here.