Sargent was born 12 January 1856 in Florence, Italy. His parents were American expatriates and he grew up summering in Switzerland, Germany, or northern France; and wintering in Rome, or Nice, or Florence.

After finishing his studies in Paris Sargent stayed on. He exhibited in the 1882 Salon, “El Jaleo”, that was purchased by a Boston patron, T. Jefferson Coolidge. In 1883 he rented a house in the boulevard Berthier, in west Paris.

Though variously described as reserved or diffident he had an inner confidence in his talents and clear view of his direction.

I’m inspired by the sheer brilliance of his execution (the light in “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”), and deep, keen understanding of colour. A skilled portaitist he revealed in the sitter an essence of their emotion. As in the 1884 “The Misses Vickers” we see the individuality of the three sisters and the haughty almost disdain of Sargent in his 1906 “Self Portrait”.

In his quiet way he did develop many friendships and moved easily through the several strata of Parisian and later English and American society. I like his strength and productivity, and while having an opinion he never became embroiled in the drama of artists like Whistler.


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