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!

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