Sargent & Fashion – Erica E. Hirshler – Tate

Sargent & Fashion

In “Sargent and Fashion,” author and editor Erica E. Hirshler delves into the captivating intersection of painting and dress, unravelling the intricate relationship between the two realms. From portraits to performance, and gender expression to the emergence of the New Woman, the book explores how John Singer Sargent masterfully navigated the pull of tradition and the allure of new ideas within the world of fashion.

In a revealing anecdote from 1894, Sargent’s declaration that “the coat is the picture” underscores his keen awareness of the symbiotic relationship between clothing and portraiture. Renowned for his ability to capture flattering and engaging likenesses, Sargent seamlessly integrated fashion into his artistic repertoire, often influencing his sitters’ attire to suit his vision.

Rather than simply reflecting contemporary fashion trends, Sargent actively shaped them, using clothing as a tool to enhance his artistic compositions. He employed his unparalleled artistic talents to create captivating visual narratives on canvas, whether through selecting garments, arranging fabric, or draping attire.

Featuring contributions from leading scholars in the field and accompanied by lavish reproductions of Sargent’s major portraits and exquisite period costumes, “Sargent and Fashion” offers readers a fresh and indispensable perspective on the life and work of one of history’s most celebrated and stylish artists.

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