Tuesday, September 29, 2015


6 x 8"
oil on panel

I'm not sure there is a more perfect painting other than 'Madame X' by the American artist, John Singer Sargent.  His painting debuted in 1884 in Paris - critics freaked out and deemed it scandalous and immoral - too 'erotic' for their delicate (prudish) eyes it seems.  Even the family of Virginie Gautreau (Madame X) was outraged, particularly because one of the dress straps was originally slipped off her shoulder.  Sargent appeased the family by repainting the strap and kept the painting for 3 years - meanwhile moving to London and becoming one of the most sought-after portrait painters of the times.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchase 'Madame X' in 1916.

I am quoting a portion of the Khan Academy's summary about 'Madame X', because I think it's so very well said -  'The painting - which debuted to severe disparagement but is today treasured as a masterpiece beloved in the history of Western art - is but one example of an artwork that gradually evolved from epitomizing the condemned to the celebrated.  Much of a work's initial reception is based upon society's tastes, standards of etiquette, and values of the era, and as these attitudes shift over the decades, the public may begin to look at older paintings with new eyes.'

There isn't a single painting that Sargent created that doesn't bring me to my knees - so it was an easy choice for the letter R in my series ArtistZ.

                         FYI - 



Nina Mateyunas said...

Love your work...great idea to do John Singer Sargent's 'Madame X'...I always loved this one of his, and you painted it so exquisitely!

Christine said...

You are a genius! This is brilliant.

Sharon Alama Art said...

Your painting is fabulous, as always.

I attended a costume ball at the Rockport Art Association in Mass. a few years ago.
A woman came dressed like Madame X....she looked just like her and even had the strap
off the shoulder. A guy came dressed as Lautrec, but I think he walked in on his knees...ouch!