John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury. Born in Florence to American parents, he was trained in Paris before moving to London, living most of his life in Europe. He created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, Spain, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida. He enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter.

In terms of cultural impact, Sargent’s work has had a profound influence on subsequent generations of artists. His ability to blend the traditional techniques of the Old Masters with a more modern sensibility inspired countless painters in the early 20th century. His dazzling technical virtuosity and painterly technique influenced an entire generation of American portraitists. While his subjects included businessmen and their families, artists, and performers, Sargent flourished particularly as a purveyor of likenesses to the English aristocracy. He maintained a dialogue with tradition, creating grand-manner pendants to family heirlooms by Van Dyck, Reynolds, and others. His work also sparked a re-evaluation of his life and work, and its psychological complexity. His same-sex interests, unconventional friendships with women, and engagement with race, gender-nonconformity, and emerging globalism, are now viewed as socially and aesthetically progressive, and radical.