As one of the leading painters of his generation, John Singer Sargent exceled at the art of the portrait and became a defining force in documenting both European and American culture in transition from the end of the nineteenth century into the twentieth. These abilities are lauded in the comprehensive exhibition, ‘John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age,” on view at the Art Institute of Chicago until September 30th.
Visitors to the installation can stroll through Sargent’s career as divided by key landmarks and their associations with the city of Chicago. Commencing with Street in Venice (1882), the first of Sargent’s paintings to be displayed in Chicago, the showcase examines Sargent’s growth as an artist both through exchange with his contemporaries and through the commission of works by numerous prominent figures. The survey ends with a look to the works of Sargent’s later life when he set his skills as a portrait painter aside and instead pursued his interest in mural compositions and watercolor paintings. What unites these various points in Sargent’s career is his remarkably versatile painterly style, one that could complement a sitter’s features as much as it could convey the freshness of a European landscape. Experience this amazing ability first hand with a visit to the exhibition or by perusing the pages of Complete Paintings of John Singer Sargent. Revealing an even more expansive survey of Sargent’s most iconic paintings, this volume offers a delightful introduction to Sargent’s body of work.