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.
More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part II, pages 125-128, which is available as a free PDF (21MB).
upper right: John S. Sargent 1911
Purchased by Hugo Reisinger [1856-1914], New York; 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.
- 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.
- Fourth Exhibition of Oil Paintings by Contemporary Artists, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1912-1913, no. 31.
- Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1925, no. 107, as Nonchaloire (Mme. Michel).
- Memorial Exhibition of the Work of John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1926, no. 53, as Nonchaloire--Madame Michel, repro.
- Opening Exhibition of the Sargent Gallery, National Gallery, Millbank (now Tate Britain), London, 1926, unnumbered catalogue.
- Masterpieces of Art. European & American Paintings 1500-1900, New York World's Fair, 1940, no. 307.
- A Centennial Exhibition, Sargent's Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956, no. 43, color repro., as "Nonchaloire" (Rose Marie Ormond).
- French, American, and Italian Review, Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, 1963, no. 47, as Repose.
- 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.
- 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.
- John Singer Sargent, Tate Britain, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1998-1999, no. 146, as Nonchaloir (Repose).
- John Singer Sargent, Seattle Art Museum, 2000-2001, not in cat.
- Downes, William Howe. John S. Sargent: His Life and Work. Boston, 1925: 237.
- Charteris, Evan. John Sargent. New York: Scribner's, 1927, pp. 210, 291.
- McKibbin, David. Sargent's Boston. Exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956: 69, 114, frontispiece.
- 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.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 328, repro.
- Hoopes, Donelson F. The Private World of John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1964: pl. 86.
- Mount, Charles Merrill. John Singer Sargent: A Biography. Rev. ed. (originally published 1955). New York, 1969: 475.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 96, repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 219, repro.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 16, 120, repro.
- Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: detail 126, 146, 147, repro.
- Ratcliff, Carter. John Singer Sargent. New York: Abbeville Press, 1982, p. 221, pl. 332.
- Nochlin, Linda. "Visions of Langour." House and Garden 155 (April 1983): 125-172, pl. 128.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 569, no. 868, color repro.
- 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.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 333, repro.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 248, repro.
- Fairbrother, Trevor J. John Singer Sargent. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994, p. 103.
- Kilmurray, Elaine, and Richard Ormond, eds. John Singer Sargent. Exh. cat. Tate Britain, London; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Princeton, 1998; Washington, 1999: no. 146, repro.
- Ormond, Richard, and Elaine Kilmurray. John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1908-1913. The Complete Paintings, Volume VIII. New Haven and London, 2014: no. 1739, repro.
- 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.
- Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 339, no. 274, color repro.
- 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.
- Middleton, William. "Shawl in the Family: The Quest for a Legendary Textile Painted by John Singer Sargent Leads to the Private Quarters of One of the Most Famous Houses in England." Elle Decor (September 2019): 116-119, repro. 117.