Nye and Company a small New Jersey auctioneers has announced the sale of an extraordinary and historic work by the renowned American portraitist John Singer Sargent. The oil-on-canvas depicts Lady Randolph Churchill. Born Jeanette “Jennie” Jerome in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn in 1854. Jennie Churchill was considered one of the greatest beauties of the age, Lady Randolph Churchill has achieved immortality as the mother of Britain’s legendary prime minister, Sir Winston Churchill. This important work of art is signed John Singer Sargent on the left side and was purchased in 1970 from the estate of Leroy Ireland, a well-known art collector associated with George Inness. The estimate is $150,000-$250,000.
Says John Nye, founder of Nye and Company, in Bloomfield, New Jersey: “It’s a momentous privilege to handle such an historically significant painting by such a prominent artist as Sargent, who is often regarded as the greatest American portraitist.” Adds Nye: “This sale is also special because this memorable work of art holds huge appeal to collectors in three major categories: Americana, Brittania and history.”
John Singer Sargent was born in Florence. His childhood was spent touring Europe, mainly in Italy, France, Switzerland and Germany. He entered the Paris studio of Carolus-Duran in 1874, where he stayed as student and assistant until 1878. He visited America in 1876, and the following year exhibited his first portrait at the Paris Salon. He travelled to Spain and Morocco in 1879-80, and to Haarlem in 1880, where he copied works by Velasquez and Frans Hals. He lived in Paris until 1884, then settled in London in 1885 following the stormy reception of his Madame Gautreau at the 1884 Paris Salon.
Sargent exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Grosvenor Gallery from 1882, and with the New English Art Club, of which he was a founding member, from 1886. He held a one-man exhibition at the St Botolph Club, Boston, Massachusetts in 1888. He exhibited at Knoedler’s, New York in 1909 and 1912. He was made an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1894, and a full member in 1897. His murals for the Boston Public Library were begun in 1891. He travelled widely in Europe, and visited the Holy Land in 1905-6.
Sargent’s international reputation as a portraitist reached its peak in the 1890s and early 1900s, and he painted many of the distinguished personalities of his day, including the actress Dame Ellen Terry, the art dealer Asher Wertheimer, Coventry Patmore and Henry James. Many of his clients were Americans: Roosevelt, Rockefeller, H.G. Marquand, and Lady Randolph Churchill. By 1910 he had given up all but the occasional portrait, devoting himself to landscapes and the murals at Boston. His most important war picture, Gassed (1919), is in the Imperial War Museum, London. A retrospective exhibition was held at the Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, in 1924. Sargent died in London. He remained an American citizen throughout his life. Memorial exhibitions of his work were held in Boston in 1925, and at the Royal Academy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Tate Gallery in 1926. Retrospective exhibitions have been held at the Whitney Museum, New York, 1986-7 and the Tate Gallery, 1998.
LIVE ON iGAVEL JANUARY 21-FEBRUARY 4, 2014