Sargent started to receive portrait commissions in Paris, and his fame increased exponentially with every Salon exhibition. Although he spent considerable time planning and executing each portrait, he gained a reputation for his ability to capture something of the character of a sitter in just a few brushstrokes. Critics and the public praised his portraits, but his provocative painting of Madame Gautreau (“Madame X”)—now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York—engendered outrage when he showed it in the Salon of 1884.
Study for “Madame Gautreau (Madame X)”, ca. 1883, detail
Watercolor and graphite on paper, 35.5 x 25.2 cm
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
The Triumph of Religion