As an American artist, John Singer Sargent's works evoked the luxury of the Edwardian era. He was considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation." There are quite a lot of John Singer Sargent paintings out there. Throughout his career, he was able to create around 2,000 watercolor paintings and over 900 oil paintings. Not to mention his sketches using charcoal.
Although his parents were American, John Singer Sargent was born in Florence, Tuscany when his parents were living abroad. His family kept to themselves and rarely mingled with the neighbours. John never really succeeded in learning through formal school. His mother believed that taking him to museums and churches was enough to provide him an education when he was young. His mother encouraged him to study art. This was most likely because she knew he had it in him. After all, his mother was a budding artist, while his father was a competent medical illustrator. By the time John was 13, he studied watercolor painting under Carl Welsch – a known German landscape painter. He attempted to study in the Academy of Florence, but that did not pan out due to some re-organizing in the school. He eventually began formal art lessons with Carolus-Duran, who was a well-known portrait artist in France during that time.
Later on, John got into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a famous art school in France. Through his hard work, dedication and natural curiosity for all things art related, he learned to train himself on his own, constantly studying to improve on his skills and techniques. He soon gained reputation as a good artist. He was also fluent in several languages, and was well loved by his classmates.
John Singer Sargent paintings were initially of landscapes. There was something fascinating about landscapes and the beauty that you can appreciate just by looking at it. Though he had more interest in landscapes and the outdoors, he learned to paint portraits because at that time, artists who had a good enough collection of portraits could hold exhibits and received commission works.
John Singer Sargent paintings have a haunting, yet vibrant effect. His technique details every part of his subjects - down to the way that light falls on them. One of the popular John Singer Sargent paintings was the Portrait of Madame X. This was considered a controversial work of art and gained popularity intially because of the subject – the wife of Pierre Gautreau. However, when people got a closer look at his work, they were left in awe at the mastery of the technique and the vibrant splashes of color amidst the dark and neutral colors.