Thursday, October 12, 2006

John Singer Sargent's Madame X (1884). The painting was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1884 as Portrait de Mme *** and created a scandal. It's considered one of Sargent's best works: "The Salon was in an uproar. Here was an occasion such as they had not had since Manet's Le dejeuner sur l'herbe and L'Olympia. The onslaught was led the lady's relatives. A demand was made that the picture should be withdrawn. It is not among the least of the curiosities of human nature, that while an individual will confess and even call attention to his own failings, he will deeply resent the same office being undertaken by someone else. So it was with the dress of Madame Gautreau. Here the distinguished artist was proclaimed to the public in paint a fact about herself which she had hitherto never made any attempt to conceal, one which had, indeed, formed one of her many social assets. Her sentiment was profound. If the picture could not be withdrawn, the family might at least bide its time, wait till the Salon was closed, the picture delivered, and then by destroying, blot it as an unclean thing from the records of the family. Anticipating this, Sargent, before the exhibition was over, took it away himself. After remaining many years in his studio it now figures as one of the glories of the Metropolitan Museum in New York".-- Evan Charteris, John Sargent, Benjamin Blom, NY, 1927

No comments: