Madame Gautreau Drinking a Toast - john singer sargent, 1882-1883

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

Madame Gautreau Drinking a Toast, 1882-1883

Oil on panel, 32 x 41 cm (12 5/8 x 16 1/8 in.)


Object details

Accession number



John Singer Sargent dedicated this painting to the sitter's mother, Madame Anatole Avegno (1818–1887).
At a later unknown date it was acquired by Dr. Samuel Pozzi (1846–1918), French surgeon and gynecologist and reputedly the sitter's lover.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner at the auction of Pozzi's collection, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 23-24 June 1919, lot 23 for 15,651 francs through her agent Fernand Robert.


Inscribed and signed (upper right): à Me [sic] Avegno témoignage d'amitié / John S. Sargent


Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 37.
Morris Carter. "Mrs. Gardner & The Treasures of Fenway Court" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 6.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 6, no. 19 (6 Jan. 1963), p. 2.
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 221-22.
Susan Sidlauskas. "Painting Skin." American Art (Fall 2001), pp. 17, 25, fig. 15.
Alan Chong et al. (eds.) Eye of the Beholder: Masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, (Boston, 2003), p. 203.

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Madame Pierre Gautreau, born Virginie Avegno (1859–1915), was Madame X, the statuesque sitter in Sargent’s most notorious portrait (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Critics considered the portrait in scandalously bad taste, and the sitter’s mother asked Sargent to withdraw the painting from the Salon of 1884, which he refused to do. This much smaller and more intimate painting was done a year earlier, and was given by Sargent to Madame Gautreau’s mother. By purchasing this painting at the end of her life, Mrs. Gardner acquired an important document of Sargent’s career, and also a slice of her own history, since she had wanted her portrait by Sargent to rival the sensuous impact of the infamous Madame X.

Source: Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 203.