Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

by Donna M. Lucey

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Overview

"Sargent’s Women has a distinct elegance and potency—Lucey’s writing propels you forward, straight to the heart of the story, along the vibrant ties that linked this fascinating artist to the women he made infamous." —Christene Barberich, global editor-in-chief and cofounder, Refinery29

In this seductive, multilayered biography, based on original letters and diaries, Donna M. Lucey illuminates four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny intuition, Sargent hinted at the mysteries and passions that unfolded in his subjects’ lives.

Elsie Palmer traveled between her father’s Rocky Mountain castle and the medieval English manor house where her mother took refuge, surrounded by artists, writers, and actors. Elsie hid labyrinthine passions, including her love for a man who would betray her. As the veiled Sally Fairchild—beautiful and commanding—emerged on Sargent’s canvas, the power of his artistry lured her sister, Lucia, into a Bohemian life. The saintly Elizabeth Chanler embarked on a surreptitious love affair with her best friend’s husband. And the iron-willed Isabella Stewart Gardner scandalized Boston society and became Sargent’s greatest patron and friend.

Like characters in an Edith Wharton novel, these women challenged society’s restrictions, risking public shame and ostracism. All had forbidden love affairs; Lucia bravely supported her family despite illness, while Elsie explored Spiritualism, defying her overbearing father. Finally, the headstrong Isabella outmaneuvered the richest plutocrats on the planet to create her own magnificent art museum.

These compelling stories of female courage connect our past with our present—and remind us that while women live differently now, they still face obstacles to attaining full equality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393079036
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/22/2017
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 712,250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Donna M. Lucey is the author of the New York Times best-selling Archie and Amélie and other books, the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities grants, and a 2017 writer-in-residence at Edith Wharton’s The Mount. The media editor at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, she lives in Charlottesville.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Four Women. Four Lives. Four Paintings xiii

Chapter 1 The Pilgrim 1

Chapter 2 The Sorcerer's Apprentice 54

Chapter 3 The Madonna 118

Chapter 4 The Collector 176

Epilogue: The Curtain Closes 245

Acknowledgments 247

Notes 251

Index 299

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