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Sargent "Mrs. Ralph Curtis"

Sargent "Mrs. Ralph Curtis"

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From: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Limited Edition: 47
Exhibition: Sargent and Italy
Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 96" (88cm x 243cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


From the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's exhibition, Sargent and Italy, come 47 banners featuring a stunning portrait by John Singer Sargent. A true American Master, Sargent captured a certain class and era in American life through his portraiture. He often painted fellow Americans living in Europe, as in this portrait of Mrs. Ralph Curtis who hosted Sargent often during his time in Italy. His style reflects the soft brushstrokes of his French Impressionist contemporaries like Monet, Manet, and Renoir.


Although an American by nationality, John Singer Sargent had a close relationship with Italy where he was born. Early in his career, he traveled to the island of Capri and around Venice, and for three decades he visited Italy each year painting street scenes and landscapes that capture the essence of its places and people.

Sargent is famously quoted as having once stated, “Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend.” However, he remains most renowned for his portraiture, which captured the glamour and elegance of high society at the turn of the 19th century. Paintings like his portrait of “Mrs. Carl Meyer and her Children” and the well-known “Madame X” are seminal works that define his style and subject. His gorgeous portraits attempted to capture the essence of the sitter and explore beauty, and they were not without controversy. “Madame X” in particular created quite an uproar when exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1884.

This banner features a striking portrait of Mrs. Ralph Curtis from 1898 that is exemplary of Sargent’s portraiture and painting style. It highlights his realistic style, which captures the aloofness of the sitter and the luxuriousness of the fabrics and details of the sitter’s milieu. On closer inspection, the brushstrokes are visible. These are not tiny and discreet, but soft-edged and broad, which has often placed Sargent in the company of his Impressionist contemporaries like Monet, Renoir, and Degas.

Mrs. Curtis was an American living in Venice with her husband, Ralph, who was part owner of the Palazzo Barbaro. At the seventeenth century Palazzo, the couple often hosted British and American expatriate artists in Venice, Sargent among them. The image is rich in browns, greens and whites with flowing brushstrokes visible that nonetheless create a carefully detailed work. Below the image is a band of forest green with white letters reading, “LACMA” and gold text with the exhibition dates, “February 2 – May 11, 2003”.

The other side has a gold background with text in white and forest green that reads, “SARGENT and ITALY”. A paler gold scroll pattern twists behind the text. A forest green band at the bottom reads, “Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation/25th Anniversary “ in white lettering.


These banners were displayed around Los Angeles to promote the exhibition, Sargent and Italy at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition ran from February 2 - May 11, 2003. The exhibition was also seen at the Denver Art Museum and the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Florence, Italy.

About the Artist

Learn more about John Singer Sargent

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