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JOHN SINGER SARGENT (1856– )

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 219 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHN SINGER SARGENT (1856– ), American artist, son of a distinguished Boston physician, was born at Florence, Italy, on the 12th of January 1856. He was educated in Italy and Germany, and in 1874 entered the atelier of Carolus-Duran in Paris. He received an " honourable mention " in the Salon of 1878 for his " En route pour la peche," and in 1881 a second class medal for his " Portrait of a Young Lady " (made famous by Henry James's appreciation). In 1886 his "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose," exhibited at the Royal Academy, was bought for the Chantrey Bequest. He rapidly became known in London as a brilliant portrait painter, and year by year his Academy portraits were the leading features of its exhibitions. Though of the French school, and American by birth, it is as a British artist that he won fame by his vogue as the most sought-after portrait painter of the day, his sitters including the men and women of greatest distinction in the literary, artistic and social life of Europe and America. While best known, and consequently busily employed, as a portrait painter, he had at the same time a disposition towards other, and especially decorative work; his paintings of Brittany, Venice and Eastern scenes are less known, but his labour of love, the ornate decorations for the Boston public library (completed in 1903), " The Pageant of Religion," shows the other side of his genius. Among his pictures in public galleries not already mentioned are " El Jaleo " (exhibited 1882), in the Boston Art Museum; " La Carmencita," in the Luxembourg; " Coventry Patmore," in the National Portrait Gallery, London; and " Henry Marquand " (1887), in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. He was elected an A.R.A. in 1894, and R.A. in 1897; he was the recipient of various medals of honour, and was made a member of the chief artistic societies of Europe and America. 1 Adapted as an opera for the music of Puccini (Rome, 14th Jan. 1900).
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