John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits, The Complete Paintings: Volume I

John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits, The Complete Paintings: Volume I by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, has recently been released by Yale University Press, New Haven and London. The catalogue raisonne is sponsored by Adelson Galleries, New York. Volume l is the result of decades of scholarly research and provides a comprehensive overview of the work of one the most acclaimed artists of the 19th century.

John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits, The Complete Paintings: Volume I is the first in a series of volumes of the definitive catalogue raisonne of the oil and watercolor works of John Singer Sargent. Volume I catalogues Sargent's formal and informal portraits in oil and watercolor from 1874 -- the period when he began his training in Paris -- through 1889. This period encompasses portraits painted while he was establishing his reputation in Paris, his early years in England, and his first professional visit to America in 1887. Volume II -- to be published within the next year -- will continue the examination of portraits Sargent painted from 1890 until his death in 1925.

The portraits from Volume I range from private images of Sargent's family and friends to studies of many of the most prominent artistic and society figures of the day. Some of the subjects include Claude Monet, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Ellen Terry in her renowned role as Lady Macbeth. Volume I also includes informal portraits of family, friends and fellow artists as well as formal portraits of patrons in France, England, and America including one of Sargent's most controversial works, Madame X, which is featured on the cover of the publication. Each work is catalogued in depth, with a biographical account of the sitter, a discussion of the contemporary context of the painting, detailed provenance, exhibition history, and bibliography.

Once published, the entire catalogue raisonne will have assembled nearly 2,300 works of art. The remaining volumes of landscapes and subject pictures, comprising approximately 1,700 illustrations of oils and watercolors, will be published in subsequent years.

The compilation of the catalogue raisonne began with the late David McKibbin (former Librarian at the Boston Athenaeum) whose goal was to produce a comprehensive series of fully illustrated volumes with scholarly entries. Mr. McKibbin laid the groundwork for the monumental task of locating and cataloguing virtually every oil and watercolor that Sargent painted. McKibbin's archive was bequeathed to Richard Ormond, Director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England, and a great-nephew of Sargent.

In 1980, Richard Ormond and Warren Adelson (President of Adelson Galleries and internationally recognized as a major authority on John Singer Sargent) began a collaboration to establish the definitive catalogue raisonne of the artist's life work.The members of the catalogue raisonne committee are Warren Adelson, Richard Ormond, Elaine Kilmurray and Elizabeth Oustinoff (Director of Adelson Galleries). According to Warren Adelson, "It has been our objective from the outset to reproduce the body of Sargent's work. After many years of research, we are thrilled at the progress made through the publication of this magnificent first volume. We are equally delighted at the prospect of completing our goal through the forthcoming publication of additional volumes."

John Singer Sargent: The Early Portraits, The Complete Paintings: Volume I, by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, Publication date: May 26, 1398, Publisher: Yale University Press, Pages: 256, Illustrations: 180 color, 80 black and white. For further information contact Adelson Galleries at 212. 439.6800,

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 9/20/10

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