"John S. Sargent" by Henry James  
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Harper's Magazine, October, 1887 (pp. 683-691)
(page 1 of 9)
Editor's Note -- This is an approximate facsimile of the Harper's Magazine with the black and white pictures which accompanied the article. To the right of this column, I've shown the thumbnails of referred paintings which were not part of the article. 

Cornell University Library's "Making of America" has reproduced this entire magazine on the web from which this comes.

John S. Sargent 

I WAS on the point of beginning this sketch of the work of an artist to whom distinction has come very early in life by saying, in regard to the degree to which the subject of it enjoys the attention of the public, that no American painter has hitherto won himself such recognition from the expert; but I find myself pausing at the start as on the edge of a possible solecism. Is Mr. Sargent in very fact an American painter? The proper answer to such a question is doubtless that we shall be well advised to claim him, and the reason of this is simply that we have an excellent opportunity. Born in Europe, he has spent his life in Europe, but none the less the burden of proof would rest with those who should undertake to show that he is a European. Moreover he has even on the face of it this great symptom of an American origin, that in the line of his art he might easily be mistaken for a Frenchman. It sounds like a paradox, but it is a very simple truth, that when to-day we look for “American art” we find it mainly in Paris. When we find it out of Paris, we at least find a great deal of Paris in it. Mr. Sargent came up to the irresistible city in his twentieth year, from Florence, where in 1856 he had been.  

VOL. LXXY.—No. 449—47 

pp. 683 | 684 | 685 | 686 | 687 | 688 | 689 |690 | 691 


Henry James 



By:  Natasha Wallace
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Updated 10/03/2003


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