john singer sargent - Mrs. Gardner in White, 1922

john singer sargent (Florence, 1856 - 1925, London)

Mrs. Gardner in White, 1922

Watercolor on paper, 43 x 32 cm (16 15/16 x 12 5/8 in.) sheet

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Object details

Accession number

P11e13

Dimension Notes

Frame: 62.23 x 49.53 cm (24 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.)

Provenance

Gift from John Singer Sargent to Isabella Stewart Gardner on 26 September 1922.

Marks

Inscribed and signed in ink (upper right): To my friend Mrs Gardner / John S. Sargent

Bibliography

Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 74.
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 55.
Kristin A. Mortimer. "Report of the Acting Director." Fenway Court (1988), p. 68, ill. 62.
Corinna Lindon Smith. Interesting People (Norman, Oklahoma, 1962), pp. 156-157.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 31 (31 Mar. 1963), p. 2. (excerpting Corinna Lindon Smith, pp. 156-57)
Rollin Hadley. “Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 8, no. 15 (13 Dec. 1964), p. 2.
A. Hyatt Mayor. "Mrs. Gardner Comes to Call." Fenway Court (1972), p. 40, ill. 41.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 231-32.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 2003), pp. 224-25.
Fausto Calderai and Alan Chong. Furnishing a Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Collection of Italian Furniture (Boston, 2011), pp. 72-73, fig. B.
Christine M. E. Guth. "Multisensorial Asia" in Alan Chong and Noriko Murai (eds.). Inventing Asia: American Perspectives Around 1900. Fenway Court, vol. 33 (Boston, 2014), pp. 92-93, fig. 8.


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Commentary

Sargent painted this portrait of Isabella Gardner shortly after she had suffered a debilitating stroke. She described this work as an informal sketch, and called it “a water-colour, not meant, I hope, to look like me.” The calmness of her pose and shroud-like swath of white fabric express an otherworldliness that bears little resemblance to her previous ebullient character. This is the last portrait of Gardner before her death in 1924.

Source: Oliver Tostmann and Anne-Marie Eze, The Inscrutable Eye: Watercolors by John Singer Sargent in Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Collection, exhibition on view in the Museum's Fenway Gallery, October 31, 2013–January 20, 2014.