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Overview

Ellen Peabody Endicott (1833–1927) was a prominent society hostess in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, and later in Washington, DC. Born into an affluent Salem shipping family, in 1859 she married William Crowninshield Endicott (1826–1900), who served on the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and was President Grover Cleveland’s secretary of war from 1885 to 1889. The National Gallery of Art collection also includes Sargent’s portrait of the couple’s daughter, Mary Crowninshield Endicott Chamberlain (1958.2.1).

Combining technical brilliance with an intimate portrait of its subject, Ellen Peabody Endicott exemplifies Sargent’s mannered society portraiture. Mrs. Endicott is shown seated in an upholstered chair beside a small wooden table topped with a book and other personal effects. The crimson curtain backdrop and Mrs. Endicott’s embroidered shawl demonstrate Sargent’s expertise in rendering fabric textures and draping. A heavy black mourning dress hints at a possible reason for the sitter’s melancholy expression: the recent death of her husband.

Inscription

upper right: John S. Sargent 1901

Provenance

The sitter's son, William C. Endicott, Jr. [1860-1936], Boston; his wife, Louise Thoron Endicott, Boston; gift 1951 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1902
134th Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1902, no. 148.
1902
Second Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art, The Copley Society of Boston, Copley Hall, Boston, 1902, no. 95.
1914
Loan Exhibition of Portraits by Living Painters, The Copley Society of Boston, Copley Hall, Boston, 1914, no. 16.
1915
Opening Exhibition of the Robert Dawson Evans Memorial Galleries for Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1915, unnumbered checklist (published as Special Number, Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin, Vol. XIII, No. 75, February 3, 1915).
1916
Exhibition of Paintings by John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1916, no cat.
1924
Retrospective Exhibition of Important Works of John Singer Sargent, Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, 1924, no. 12.
1925
Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1925, no. 75, repro.
1926
Memorial Exhibition of the Work of John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1926, no. 38.
1954
Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt, The Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1954, no. 61, repro.
1956
A Centennial Exhibition, Sargent's Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956, no. 32, fig. 29.
1999
Picturing Old New England: Image and Memory, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., 1999, no. 54, repro.
Bibliography
1925
Downes, William Howe. John S. Sargent: His Life and Work. Boston, 1925: 57, 200-201.
1927
Charteris, Evan. John Sargent. New York, 1927: 268.
1954
Sweet, Frederick A. Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt. Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1954: 62.
1956
McKibbin, David. Sargent's Boston. Exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956: 47, 94.
1969
Mount, Charles Merrill. John Singer Sargent: A Biography. Rev. ed. (originally published 1955).New York, 1969: 240, 437.
1970
American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 96, repro.
1970
Ormond, Richard. John Singer Sargent: Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors. New York, 1970: 66, 250, 253, pl. 85.
1980
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 218, repro.
1980
Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 16
1981
Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: 145-6, color repro.157.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 568, no. 866, color repro.
1992
American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 331, repro.
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: 113-115, color repro.