John Singer Sargent.jpg

John Singer Sargent was an American artist and painter, often considered one of the greatest portraitists of all time. 

SFull Name John Singer Sargent
Who painter
Birth Date January 12, 1856
Death Date April 14, 1925
Country United States
Born Florence, Italy
Died London, England, UK
Cause of Death heart disease
Education Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts
Father FitzWilliam Sargent
Mother Mary Singer Newbold Sargent
Spouse none
Siblings Mary Sargent
Children none


Sargent studied under Carolus Duran, who was at the time a young and unconventional rising star in the art world. In 1874, at the age of 18, Sargent began to study with Duran, as well as at the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Artes. Sargent was his pupil from 1874 - 1878, during which time Duran made a lasting influence on him. It was also Duran that later swayed Sargent to turn from landscapes into painting portraits. After finishing his studies, Sargent painted a portrait of his former professor Duran in 1879, which was met with public attention and approval.

While studying at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Artes, one of Sargent's professors was Leon Bonnat.

While in university, from 1874 - 1878, Sargent shared a painting studio with James Carroll Beckwith, who became a close and longtime friend of his. Beckwith would later prove an instrumental link between Sargent and other American expatriate artists.

Julian Alden Weir, who was already an established painter at the time, met Sargent in 1874, when he was still a beginning art student. Weir deeply admired even Sargent's earliest work, calling him "one of the most talented fellows I have ever come across," and saying that his works were "like the old masters."

Sargent's friends included Paul Cesar Helleu, Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Edmund Gosse, Judith Gautier, Dennis Miller Bunker and others. 

Henry James was a close friend of Sargent's. James urged Sargent for years to leave Paris and move to London. This finally occurred in 1886, following a shift in public opinion of Sargent caused by his scandalous Portrait of Madame X. James welcomed his old friend to London with enthusiasm, and helped him to step into society circles. Without James' help, Sargent would undoubtedly have had a far more difficult time assimiliating himself into the London art world.

Sargent was acquainted with Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Gabriel Faure, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Jacques Emile Blanche, Edmond de Polignac, Robert de Montesquiou, Edwin Austin Abbey, Francis Davis Millet, and others.

Sargent was a friend and mentor of Emil Fuchs, tutoring him in painting.

Sargent was a close friend of the married couple Wilfrid de Glehn and Jane Emmet de Glehn. The three often traveled together, and spent many summers together in France, Spain and Italy.

Sargent co-founded the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York together with Edmund Greacen and Walter Leighton Clark.

During his busy career, Singer painted literally thousands of subjects. They included Rosina Ferrara, Theodore Roosevelt, Auguste Rodin, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Ellen Terry, Robert Louis Stevenson, Fanny Stevenson, Woodrow Wilson, Alice Vanderbilt Morris, John D. Rockefeller, and Grace Curzon. Curzon was his last portrait, painted in 1925. His most famous portrait, Madame X, depicted Virginie Amelie Avegno Gautreau, whom he pursued for a portrait personally and later developed an infatuation with.

How Added - Through his portrait subject Octavia Hill, who was added via her housemate Sophia Jex-Blake, who was added via her friend Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who was added via her sister Millicent Fawcett, who was added via her contemporary Camille Clifford.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.