JOHN SINGER SARGENT - FAMED AMERICAN PAINTER AND PORTRAIT ARTIST

John Singer Sargent

Drawing

Sargent painting of Madame Pierre Gautreau

Madam X

1883-1884, Oil on canvas

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Born as Virginie Avegno (1859-1915), Madame Pierre Gautreau was an American from New Orleans brought to Paris by her French mother following the death of Virginie's father. She married Banker Pierre Gautreau and entered into a long career as a celebrity of Parisian high society.

Madame X Head Detail by Sargent

Sargent specifically requested Gautreau to model for him, and after being accepted he took nearly a year of on-and-off work to complete the image. At the Salon exhibit of 1884, the image in its original state (shoulder strap slipped down) caused a great deal of negative comment, such that Sargent, who kept the painting hanging in his studio for over twenty-years, painted out the offending strap.

Related:
Sargent's watercolor of Gautreu here.

(Below) Original composition as exhibited at the French Salon of 1884

Madame X

For comparison: Portrait of Gautreu by Gustave Courtois (below)

Gust

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