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John Singer Sargent
Homer Saint-Gaudens and his Mother
La Carmencita
Violet Sargent
Augustus Saint-Gaudens - 
American sculpture (1848-1907) 
Smithsonian American Art Museum
50 x 34 in.
Gift of Rose Pitman Hughes
Jpg: The Gilded Age
Augustus Saint-Gaudens first met Violet Sargent at a party at William Merrit Chases' 10th street studio in New York. He was so taken by her that he asked if she would sit for him. In exchange, her bother John Singer Sargent agreed to do a painting for Saint-Gaudens. 

It is highly probable that Saint-Gaudens' bronze of Violet is reminiscent of the party of their first meeting -- one inwhich John had hired the Spanish Gypsy dancer La Carmencita to perform and bring to life John's earlier painting of El Jaleo -- a Gypsy dancer accompanied by a line of flamenco guitar players. Violet herself, may have participated in that line of of players on that famous night, and Saint-Gaudens here, in this depiction of her, might be playing tribute to both of them for that enjoyable and famous night.  

From: The Gilded Age 

Augustus Saint-Gaudens drew from many historical and contemporary sources to create this portrait of [John's sister]. She is seated on a bench derived from classical Greek architecture and is playing a guitar . . . The low relief bronze recalls Renaissance sculpture, and the frame is decorated with chrysanthemums, the symbol of royal Japan.  
(The Gilded Age) 


The portrait of his wife and son by the painter, now in the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.  


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2003 all rights reserved
Created 10/09/2003
Updated 12/30/2003




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