The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1856.01.12
Place of Birth: Florence
Date of Death: 1925.04.15
Place of Death: London


John Singer Sargent, artist. He was born in Florence but of American nationality.


Artist, painter of portrait and landscape subjects. Sargent spent the major part of his career in England and was a friend of JW. He was a member of The Arts Club from 1885 until at least 1920. In June 1885 he leased a studio at 13 (later 33) Tite Street, which had been leased by JW between March 1881 and October 1884. JW and Sargent both had rooms in the Palazzo Rezzonico in Venice in consecutive years, 1881 and 1882 respectively. Like JW, Sargent was invited to contribute to the first exhibition of Les XX in 1884. JW's models, the Pettigrew sisters, also modelled for Sargent. Along with many other artists including JW, Sargent contributed to a decorative fan (see Dancing girl, on a fan (M.1423)).

In 1890 Sargent accepted a commission to decorate the Boston Public Library, designed by McKim, Mead and White, with a series of murals illustrating the development of religious thought. These murals, and a later cycle of Classical and allegorical subjects at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (begun 1916), were to occupy a large part of Sargent’s energies for the rest of his life. In 1891 JW was invited to contribute wall decorations for Bates Hall in the Boston Public Library, which would join those by Sargent. However, his designs were not executed due to lack of funds and the panel still remains vacant (see Study for Three Decorative Panels Representing 'The Landing of Columbus', 'Queen Isabel la Católica of Spain' and 'Queen Elizabeth of England' (YMSM 396) and Study for three decorative panels representing 'The Landing of Columbus', 'Queen Isabel la Catôlica of Spain', and 'Queen Elizabeth of England' for Boston Public Library, Massachusetts (M.1356)).

In February 1896 (at the time that Whistler's wife Beatrix was dying of cancer), Sargent lent JW his studio at 76 Fulham Road.

Sargent was made an Associate of the RA in 1894, and a Royal Academician in 1897; at this time there was perhaps a colling of their relationship, although no outright break.


Kelly’s Directory of Chelsea, Pimlico and Belgravia, London, 1887; Bénézit, E., Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, 8 vols, Paris, 1956-61; Grove; Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986; Annual Register, London, , 1925, p. 130; Richard Ormond, Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent, London, Tate Gallery, 1998; Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed August 2004).