National Portrait Gallery

SARGENT: PORTRAITS OF ARTISTS AND FRIENDS, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 25th May 2015

Robert Louis Stevenson by John Singer Sargent, 1887 Copyright: Courtesy of the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio

Robert Louis Stevenson by John Singer Sargent, 1887
Copyright: Courtesy of the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio

This impressive show, which goes on to New York’s Metropolitan Museum in late June, brings together the artist’s wide circle of friends from the theatre, literature, music and the arts whether in New York, Boston, Paris or London nor forgetting his forays into the countryside of Italy and England. Included from these latter expeditions are pictures of fellow artists Jane and Wilfrid de Glehn who accompanied him. You may be interested to know that the de Glehns’ are the subject of an exhibition at Messum’s until 17th April (www.messums.com).

Dame Ethel Smyth by John Singer Sargent, 1901 Copyright: National Portrait Gallery, London

Dame Ethel Smyth by John Singer Sargent, 1901
Copyright: National Portrait Gallery, London

Through these highly engaging portraits and studies we see a more intimate and relaxed approach to his subject matter than found in his commissioned portraits. A factor perhaps best summed up in the words of Richard Ormond CBE, who has curated this exhibition: ‘Sargent’s enthusiasms were all for things new and exciting. He was a fearless advocate of the work of younger artists, and in music his influence on behalf of modern composers and musicians ranged far and wide. The aim of this exhibition is to challenge the conventional view of Sargent. As a painter he is well known; but Sargent the intellectual, the connoisseur of music, the literary polymath, is something new.’

Group with Parasols by John Singer Sargent, c.1904–5 Copyright: Private collection

Group with Parasols by John Singer Sargent, c.1904–5
Copyright: Private collection

npg.org.uk

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