National Portrait Gallery Revisits John Singer Sargent’s Legacy

John Singer Sargent, Douard and Marie-Louise Pailleron (1881)

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London is planning a major exhibition of the American painter John Singer Sargent, The Guardian reports. The exhibition will be shown at the NPG before traveling to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Sargent was born in Florence, Italy, in 1856 to American expatriates who always lived abroad. As a result he spent the majority of his life in Europe. After completing his training in Paris, the artist moved to England, settling in London.

During his lifetime Sargent was amongst the most sought-after portraitists for his brilliant painting ability and quick process. Ironically, these attributes caused the art establishment to dismiss him as a society painting crowd-pleaser after his death in 1925.

The exhibition curator Richard Ormond is determined to restore the artist’s reputation. Delving through Sargent’s enormous artistic output, he has put together a show consisting primarily of images of the painter’s friends, including artists Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin, and the writers Henry James and Robert Louis Stevenson. Ormond explained that Sargent painted his friends in a much more experimental style.

In what will be his last major exhibition at the NPG, outgoing director Sandy Nairne has promised a unique show. “Extraordinary and rare loans are coming together for the first time to demonstrate Sargent’s talent in a new way.” “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends” opens at the National Portrait Gallery on February 12, 2015.


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