Size: 0.2 Linear feet, (104 letters)
Summary: The John Singer Sargent letters consist of 104 letters dating from 1887 to 1922. The letters provide limited insight into his later career through letters to commissioned patrons, sitters, and friends and colleagues. Topics covered include works in progress, replies to social invitations, and other general social news. Many of the letters are written to Mrs. Charles Hunter, an English friend and patron who sat for several portraits. Also found are letters from Sargent to friend Edith Blaney, whose husband was landscape artist Dwight Blaney. Additional scattered letters were written to Henry Mills Alden, Lawrence Barrett, Mrs. Baxter, a Mr. Griffith, Sir George Hunter, Mrs. Jackson, Louisa P. Loring, Henry Gurdon Marquand, Mrs. Pick, Mr. Spizer, and unidentified/illegible recepients. There are two photographs of Sargent.
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was born in Florence, Italy to American Parents, Dr. Fitzwilliam Sargent and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent of Philadelphia. During his childhood the family traveled Europe extensively, often spending summers in Switzerland and winters in Italy. Sargent began drawing and painting at an early age, helping in the studio of Carl Welsch in 1868, attending the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence in 1873, studying at Carolus-Duran's atelier and the studio of James Carroll Beckwith and finally attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1875. Sargent quickly gained recognition for his paintings, receiving honors for his works at the Salon and the Society of American Artists. During this period he visited the studios of many prominent artists working in Europe, including John Everett Millais, Frederic Leighton, and Claude Monet and also became friends with Henry James.
42 of the letters were given to the Archives by Charles E. Feinberg in 1956 and purchased from King V. Hostick, an autograph dealer, in 1957. A few additional letters in the possession of Charles E. Feinberg were sold at auction and purchased by the Archives of American Art in 1968. Circa 60 letters from Sargent to Mrs. Charles Hunter were donated by Elizabeth Williamson, daughter of Mrs. Charles Hunter, in 1964. All accessions were microfilmed shortly after receipt.
Related collections available at the Archives of American Art include the F. W. Sargent papers (John Singer Sargent's father), which include correspondence with his son, available on reel D317. Also found is the R. L. Ormond material relating to John Singer Sargent, available on microfilm reels 1407 and 1820, and "Recollections of John Singer Sargent," a typescript and recording of an interview of Sargent's model Anton Kamp, available on microfilm reel 5002. Other collections were loaned to the Archives of American Art for microfilming and returned to the owner, including the Charles Jackson Paine letters from John Singer Sargent, available on reel 2542, and the John Singer Sargent letter to Mrs. Henry White, available on reel 647.
The papers of painter John Singer Sargent were digitized in 2006 by the Archives of American Art. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 286 images.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.