John Singer Sargent -- Letters  (Frontpage)

From Sargent to the Editor of the Nation; January 7, 1911

To the Editor of the "Nation"


My attention has been called to an article by Mr. Roger Fry, called "A Postscript on Post-Impressionism" in your issue of December 24th in which he mentions me as being among the champions of the group of painters now being shown at the Grafton Gallery, I should be obliged if you would allow me space in your columns for these few words of rectification.

Mr. Fry has been entirely misinformed, and if I had been inclined to join in the controversy, he would have known my sympathies were in the exactly opposite direction as far as the novelties are concerned, that have been most dicussed and that this show has been my first opportunity of seeing. I have declined Mr. Fry's request to place my name on the initial list of promoters of the Exhibition on the ground of not knowing the work of the painters to whom the name of Post-Impressionists can be applied; it certainly does not apply to Manet or Cézanne. Mr. Fry may have been told -- and I believed -- that the sight of these paintings had made me a convert to his faith in them.

The fact is that I am absolutely sceptical as to their having any claim whatever to being works of art, with the exception of some pictures by Gauguin that strike me as admirable in color, and color only.

But one wonders what will Mr. Fry not believe, and one is tempted to say what will he not print?

Yours, etc.,

John S. Sargent

(Letter quoated in Charteris, P.192)