Sargent -- American painter
cm (26 1/8
x 19 1/8 in.)
'To Mrs. Goodrich'
(upper left) and signed 'John S. Sargent' (upper right)
While all of
angled for a
meeting with the great European-bred artist, Sargent resided
with his old friends, Admiral and Mrs. Caspar Goodrich, parents of the
young sitter. Charles Merrill Mount describes Sargent's arrival in the
United States: "He arrived at Torpedo Station huge and dominant,
and eager. It was years since he had seen the Goodriches, and since
peaceful days at Florence [Mrs. Goodrich] had borne a son, doubtless
day to enter the Navy, and a daughter, both of whom he would meet. It
pleasant to find friends in a strange place: Admiral Goodrich, who
spoke of the sea and ships as Dr. Sargent had. . . ." (John Singer
p. 106) Inscribed to the sitter's mother, it is presumed that Sargent's
portrait of Caspar Goodrich was not a commissioned work, but a token of
gratitude for the Goodrich's hospitality during the artist's stay.
Caspar Goodrich has
enjoyed a long
history of critical acclaim. In January 1888, shortly after it was
Caspar Goodrich was exhibited at Boston's St. Botolph Club along with
of Sargent's most celebrated pictures, including El Jaleo (Isabella
Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts) and The Daughters of Edward D.
(Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts). The show galvanized his
strong support by his American audience. Royal Cortissoz compared
Goodrich favorably with some of Sargent's most celebrated pictures:
likeness of a little boy in a sailor's suit is a charming
of boyish character .... [in which] he has treated adolescence with the
most searching understanding." (as quoted in W.H. Downes, John S.
His Life and Work, Boston, Massachusetts, 1925, p. 150)
The six year old
would have been an irresistible subject for Sargent. A beautiful young
boy with a peachy complexion and dark eyes, Sargent painted him wearing
a sailor suit, the most fashionable costume for a young boy throughout
the nineteenth century. Capturing the boy with arms crossed, gazing
at the viewer, Sargent conveys the impression of both mischief and good
manners. Almost in spite of himself, a smile appears to be emanating
beneath the surface of the headstrong subject. Unlike their adult
Sargent's young sitters were unselfconscious and provided the artist
subject matter from which he derived some of his best work - enduring
that convey much more than the physical attributes of the subject.
Admiral and Mrs.
Newport, Rhode Island, parents of the sitter.
New York, daughter of the above and sister of the sitter, by 1925.
By descent in the
Brennan Jones, niece of the above.
'The Society of
Exhibition,' Art Amateur, June 1890, p. 3
'American and European
Art Interchange, 24 May 1890, p. 176
'Society of American
York Times, 28 April 1890, p. 4 L. Mechlin, 'The Sargent Exhibition:
Central Art Galleries, New York,' American Magazine of Art, April 1924,
W.H. Downes, John S.
Life and Work, Boston, Massachusetts, 1925 (rev. ed. London, England,
E. Charteris, John
England, 1927, p. 260
C.M. Mount, John
A Biography, New York, 1955, no. 8711, p. 431 (1957 ed., no. 8511, p.
1969 ed., no. 8511, p. 440)
D. McKibbin, Sargent's
an Essay & a Biographical Summary, Boston, Massachusetts, 1956, p.
T. Fairbrother, John
and America, New York, 1986, pp. 135, 161
R. Ormond and E.
Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits, Complete Paintings, Volume I, New
Haven, Connecticut, 1998, no. 195, pp. 200, 259-260, illustrated
Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children; 2004-2005
Club, John Singer Sargent's Paintings, January-February 1888
New York, Society of
Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, Twelfth Exhibition, April-May 1890, no. 157
Paintings and Sketches by John S. Sargent, February-March 1899, no. 27
Fine Arts, Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late John Singer
November-December 1925, no. 26
New York, The
of Art, Memorial Exhibition of the Work of John Singer Sargent,
1926, no. 19, illustrated
New York, Portraits,
of Children, 1860-1960, April-May 1960, no. 51
Sold Christie's New
Lot: 25; Sale number 9788; $1,546,000
- See the year