Overview

Sargent's inordinate technical facility, coupled with his ability to portray elegant sitters in sumptuous surroundings, made him extremely popular with wealthy patrons on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite his success as one of the most sought–after portraitists of the late Victorian era, Sargent eventually became exasperated by the whim and vanities of prominent sitters. By 1909 he had abandoned conventional portraiture in order to "experiment with more imaginary fields."

The Woman in Repose is Sargent's niece, Rose–Marie Ormond Michel. In keeping with his newfound preference for informal figure studies, Sargent did not create a traditional portrait; rather, he depicted Rose–Marie as a languid, anonymous figure absorbed in poetic reverie. The reclining woman, casually posed in an atmosphere of elegiac calm and consummate luxury, seems the epitome of nonchalance—the painting's original title. Sargent seems to have been documenting the end of an era, for the lingering aura of fin–de–siècle gentility and elegant indulgence conveyed in Repose would soon be shattered by massive political and social upheaval in the early 20th century.

Inscription

upper right: John S. Sargent 1911

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Purchased by Hugo Reisinger [1856-1914], New York;[1] his wife, Edmée Busch Reisinger [later Mrs. Charles E. Greenough, d. 1955], New York; her son, Curt H. Reisinger [d. 1964], New York; gift 1948 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1911
Forty-Fifth Exhibition of Modern Pictures by the New English Art Club, Galleries of the Royal Society of British Artists, London, Summer 1911, no. 184.
1912
Fourth Exhibition of Oil Paintings by Contemporary Artists, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1912-1913, no. 31.
1925
Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1925, no. 107, as Nonchaloire (Mme. Michel).
1926
Memorial Exhibition of the Work of John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1926, no. 53, as Nonchaloire--Madame Michel, repro.
1926
Opening Exhibition of the Sargent Gallery, National Gallery, Millbank (now Tate Britain), London, 1926, unnumbered catalogue.
1940
Masterpieces of Art. European & American Paintings 1500-1900, New York World's Fair, 1940, no. 307.
1956
A Centennial Exhibition, Sargent's Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956, no. 43, color repro., as "Nonchaloire" (Rose Marie Ormond).
1963
French, American, and Italian Review, Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, 1963, no. 47, as Repose.
1964
The Private World of John Singer Sargent, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Cleveland Museum of Art; Worcester Art Museum; Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Utica, New York, 1964-1965, no. 86, as Nonchaloire.
1971
Americans at Home and Abroad 1870-1920 [A Loan Exhibition for the Benefit of The American Association of Museums], Meredith Long and Company, Houston, 1971, no. 32, as Repose.
1998
John Singer Sargent, Tate Britain, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1998-1999, no. 146, as Nonchaloir (Repose).
2000
John Singer Sargent, Seattle Art Museum, 2000-2001, not in cat.

Bibliography

1925
Downes, William Howe. John S. Sargent: His Life and Work. Boston, 1925: 237.
1927
Charteris, Evan. John Sargent. New York, 1927: 210, 291.
1956
McKibbin, David. Sargent's Boston. Exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956: 69, 114, frontispiece.
1959
Bouton, Margaret. American Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1959 (Booklet Number One in Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.): 36, color repro.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 328, repro.
1964
Hoopes, Donelson F. The Private World of John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1964: pl. 86.
1969
Mount, Charles Merrill. John Singer Sargent: A Biography. Rev. ed. (originally published 1955). New York, 1969: 475.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 96, repro.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 219, repro.
1980
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 16, 120, repro.
1981
Williams 1981, detail 126, 146, 147, repro.
1982
Ratcliff, Carter. John Singer Sargent. New York, 1982: 221, pl. 332.
1983
Nochlin, Linda. "Visions of Langour." House and Garden 155 (April 1983): 125-172, pl. 128.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 569, no. 868, color repro.
1988
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 138, no. 46, color repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 333, repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 248, repro.
1994
Fairbrother, Trevor J. John Singer Sargent. New York, 1994: 103, color repro.
1998
John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat. Tate Britain, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1998-1999: no. 146.
1998
Torchia, Robert Wilson, with Deborah Chotner and Ellen G. Miles. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part II. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1998: 125-128, color repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 339, no. 274, color repro.
2012
Duits, Rembrandt. "'Abiti gravi, abiti stravaganti': Veronese's Creative Approach to Drapery." In Paolo Veronese: A Master and His Workshop in Renaissance Venice, edited by Virginia Brilliant. Exh. cat. Sarasota, 2012. London, 2012: 63, 64, color fig. 26.

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