John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was one of the greatest portrait artists of his time. While he is best known for his powerful paintings, he largely ceased painting portraits in 1907 and turned instead to charcoal drawings to satisfy commissions. These drawn portraits represent a substantial, yet often overlooked, part of his practice, and they demonstrate the same sense of immediacy, psychological sensitivity, and mastery of chiaroscuro that animate Sargent’s sitters on canvas.
This volume presents over sixty superb portrait drawings, featuring sitters famous for their roles in politics, society, and the arts. It also explores the friendships and the networks of patronage that underpinned Sargent’s practice as a portrait draughtsman in Edwardian Britain and Progressive Era America. Published to accompany exhibitions at the Morgan Library & Museum and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal provides the first comprehensive history of this remarkable artist’s drawn portraits.
Richard Ormond is an independent art historian and director of the John S. Sargent Catalogue Raisonné Project, 2000-. He is the author of numerous works, most recently, Sargent: The Watercolours (with Elaine Kilmurray, 2017) and Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends (2015).