The American painter John Singer Sargent was born in Florence, Italy, and grew up in the cultural capitals of Europe, thanks to his parents, who left Philadelphia for a nomadic, expatriate life abroad. Exposed to European art and culture from birth, Sargent attended art schools wherever he was living and developed into a consummate cosmopolitan, evident in his portrait commissions of social elites, first in Paris and then in England and the United States.
Do the colors in this scene evoke particular emotions?
This intimate scene featuring Albert and Edith Vickers takes place in the dining room of a country house in England. Sargent’s composition weds the informal portraiture of the conversation piece to the techniques of Impressionism. Mrs. Vickers occupies the center of the painting and looks directly at the viewer. Her hand rests on a glass of claret, while Mr. Vickers crosses his legs as he puffs on an after-dinner cigar, imparting a casual freshness to the scene.
Gift of the Atholl McBean Foundation