Sargent's sensationalist portrait of the wife of a banker. Her head is turned into sharp profile emphasising her nose, her right arm is twisted and her shoulders exposed, with her black evening dress remaining unfinished.
John Singer Sargent
Study of Mme Gatreau
206.4 x 107.9 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 206.4 x 107.9 cm ® Tate, London
American painter John Singer Sargent was considered the most fashionable portrait painter working in England and the USA in the late 19th century. During his early career in 1880s he was influenced by his friend Monet towards Impressionism, but by the 1890s had success with society portraits. After 1900 Sargent spent his summers on long sketching holidays and shocked social circles when he decided to give up portraiture in favour of landscapes. In 1918 he worked as a war artist and from 1890 until c. 1925 he painted murals for Boston Library and Museum.