John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American artist, considered the leading portrait painter of his generation. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings.
Sargent was at ease in the world of Paris studios and formed lasting friendships with fellow expatriates and a wide range of French artists. He built his reputation by convincing friends and notable members of fashionable society to pose for him and exhibiting these works to great acclaim. Many of his early commissions came from members of the artistic community in Paris.
(Portrait of Madame X) 1884
His most controversial work is now considered one of his best works, and was the
artist's personal favorite. He stated in 1915, "I suppose it is the best thing I have done."
In 1885, Sargent decided to move from Paris to London after his provocative portrait of Madame X caused a scandal at the Paris Salon of 1884 and put his career in jeopardy. Between leaving Paris and setting in London, he found solace in the colony of American and English artists and writers. Nourished by his contact with Claude Monet, Sargent continued to experiment with Impressionism while in the British countryside, creating vivid sketches of fellow artist at work outdoors and landscapes.