The United States in the 19th century

Aestheticism and the Gilded Age

Though American, both Whistler and Sargent worked and exhibited in Europe. Their patrons were often the wealthy industrialists who characterized the Gilded Age.

c. 1862 - 1900

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John Singer Sargent, <em>Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose</em>
John Singer Sargent, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

Singer Sargent’s evocative canvas turns a sweet, ordinary scene into a symphony of shapes and colors.

John Singer Sargent, <em>The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit</em>
John Singer Sargent, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

Sargent studied the work of Velázquez, and those lessons paid off in this painting of a Bostonian’s daughters.

John Singer Sargent, <em>El Jaleo</em>
John Singer Sargent, El Jaleo

This dramatic dance scene captures a moment in time on an enormous scale.

John Singer Sargent, <em>Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)</em>
John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)

It was all fun and games until the artist painted a woman’s bare shoulder and showed it to a scandalized public.

Whistler, <em>Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket</em>
Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket

A critic accused Whistler of “flinging paint at the public” when he saw this painting, so Whistler sued him.

Whistler, <em>Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl</em>
Whistler, Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl

Nothing says “I love you” like depicting your girlfriend as a “prop” without mood, personality, or expression!

Selected Contributors | Aestheticism and the Gilded Age