Emily Sargent (1859-1929)

Watercolorist Emily Sargent , sister of John Singer Sargent, was born in Rome to American parents in 1857. She was the daughter of Dr. Fitzwilliam Sargent and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent, daughter of a prosperous Philadelphia merchant. Sargent’s parents lived a cultured life of leisure, entertaining, and travel in Europe. Emily thus grew up in Nice, Florence, Venice, Rome, Dresden, Paris, Marseilles, Normandy, Spain, Switzerland, and England, playing with her younger sister, Violet, her brother, John, his close friend Violet Paget, and other children of expatriate American families. Conflicting records claim that Sargent either suffered an accident in Rome in the autumn of 1860 that left her spine deformed, or that she suffered from spinal tuberculosis. Sargent’s and her siblings’ interest in art was encouraged by their mother, an amateur but avid painter, who guided her children through the great museums and historic sites of Europe. Emily’s brother, John Singer Sargent would become an extremely successful international portrait and figure painter. Emily appears in at least seven of her brother’s paintings, including “Simplon Pass: The Lesson”, which shows her painting out-of-doors in the Alps with her two nieces looking on. In 1876 Sargent traveled to America with her mother and brother to register his citizenship, and stayed for four months, visiting New York City, Newport, Niagara Falls, Lake George, Saratoga, Quebec, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Her father died in 1889. In 1890 she journeyed with her family to Egypt, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Greece. Following the death of their mother in 1905, John and Emily traveled together each fall to Venice and London. In 1912 they went to Spain where they visited Seville and Granada and painted at the Alhambra. From 1916 on, Emily also often spent several months at a time in Boston with her brother. The Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, which owns nine watercolors by Emily Sargent, calls her “an accomplished painter.” She died in England in 1929.


by Emily Sargent (1859-1929)

Medium DetailWatercolor on paper
Dimensions18 x 15 inches
Signed LocationUnsigned
Date Createdc.1912
ProvenanceMuriel Case, Newport, RI, granddaughter of Adm Augustus L Case a close friend of John Singer Sargent & Emily Sargent. A gift from the artist to Adm Case; descended in the family to Muriel who sold it to William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd.

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