John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was one of the greatest portrait artists of his time. While he is best known for his powerful paintings, he largely ceased painting portraits in 1907 and turned instead to charcoal drawings to satisfy portrait commissions. These drawn portraits represent a substantial, yet often overlooked, part of his practice, and they demonstrate the same sense of immediacy, psychological sensitivity, and mastery of chiaroscuro that animate Sargent’s sitters on canvas. The first major exhibition to explore the artist’s expressive portraits in charcoal, John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal will recognize the sheer scale of Sargent’s achievement as a portrait draftsman. Important international loans, from both public and private collections, will showcase Sargent’s sitters, many of them famous for their roles in politics, society, and the arts. The exhibition will also explore the friendships and the networks of patronage that underpinned Sargent’s practice as a portrait draftsman in Edwardian Britain and Progressive Era America.
John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
The exhibition is made possible with lead funding from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.
Generous support is provided by The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Katharine J. Rayner, The Christian Humann Foundation, and Barbara G. Fleischman, with assistance from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.