In 1907, at the height of his success as a portraitist, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) astonished the transatlantic art world when he stopped painting portraits in oil. Afterwards, he switched to charcoal, producing several hundred portraits of individuals recognized for their accomplishments in fields such as art, music, literature and theater. “John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal” will be the first exhibition of Sargent’s portrait drawings in over fifty years. This once-in-a-lifetime assemblage of master drawings—many of them from private collections and rarely exhibited—features compelling depictions of an international network of trailblazing men and women who helped define twentieth-century Anglo-American culture.
This exhibition is organized by the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. The presentation of the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is made possible with lead funding from Ann S. and Samuel M. Mencoff. Additional support is provided by Dr. and Mrs. Paul Carter, Andrew Oliver Jr. and the American Portrait Gala Endowment. Richard Ormond is guest curator of the exhibition. The curator of the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery is Robyn Asleson, Curator of Prints and Drawings. The curator of the exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum is Laurel O. Peterson, Moore Curatorial Fellow, Department of Drawings and Prints.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue produced by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, and the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, in association with D Giles Limited.