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Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1884. Oil on canvas, 82-1/2 x 43-1/4 inches. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Arthur H. Hearn Fund, 1916.
The Misses Vickers, 1884. Oil on canvas, 54 x 72 inches. Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, England.
In the Luxembourg Gardens, 1879. Oil on canvas, 25-1/2 x 36 inches. John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia.In the Luxembourg Gardens, 1879, is made of grays that suggest Whistler. Sargent and Whistler may have met three years earlier, or their meeting might have been in 1880--the biographers of both artists disagree on this point. However, In the Luxembourg Gardens makes it likely that Sargent had seen his fellow Americans Nocturnes and Harmonies by 1879.
Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885. Oil on canvas, 20-1/2 x 24-1/2 inches. Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, New York.
The Sitwell Family, 1900. Oil on canvas, 67 x 76 inches. Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, England.
John Singer Sargent
By Carter Ratcliff

Size: 11 x 13", 
Cloth, 256 pages
338 illustrations, 110 in full color
Published 2001
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0748-7
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The name of John Singer Sargent evokes images of marvelously gowned Edwardian belles, brooding aristocrats, and princes of industry — insightful portraits executed with dazzling virtuosity.

"Not just another art history book, no title in recent memory recalls with such exactitude the style of an era that. in retrospect, has become increasingly golden.... The book and its prose shimmer." -- The New York Times

"Never before have Sargents talents been so gloriously displayed as they are here. Quite simply, this... is a stunner, a book as satisfyingly extravagant as a Sargent portrait." -- Christian Science Monitor

"John Singer Sargent by Carter Ratcliff is that rare beast, a truly lively, tangy biography of an artist, with layouts and reproductions that do the paintings proud." --Newsday

"The spontaneity, elegance, and grace that characterize Sargents work are everywhere evident on these large, luminous pages. . . . A visual delight." -- Art and Antiques

Sargents enduring popularity has prompted a thoughtful reappraisal by prominent art critic Carter Ratcliff, who shows us the surprising breadth of the artists work. Never before has a book so thoroughly represented that variety: 110 lavish color plates and more than 200 halftones convey the brilliance of his portraits, the exuberance of his watercolors, the stately pomp of his murals. It is perhaps the watercolors that are most exciting to contemporary eyes — bold, spontaneous, and vividly hued, they have a breathtaking immediacy.

Born in Florence in 1856 to American parents, Sargent spent a nomadic childhood before going to Paris to study painting. He learned quickly and by the 1880s had begun the steady climb to fame that ultimately placed him at the center of his world, with a circle of friends and rivals that included Henry James, Claude Monet, and James McNeill Whistler. When Sargent died in 1925, a childhood companion wrote in her memorial that "the summing up of a would-be biographer must, I think be: He painted." It is the strikingly beautiful results of that lifelong devotion to his art that glow throughout the pages of this incomparable book.

Carter Ratcliff is a leading art critic and contributing editor of Art in America. Among his many books are Botero, Andy Warhol, Komar and Melamid, and The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Post-War American Art. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts and Hunter College and lectured at a variety of institutions, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He lives in New York City.

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