Natasha's What's New Page   (Frontpage)  (What's New Direcotory)
"Boston's Singer"  
Brian F. Crowley 

Sargent's images for $500, please. 

A: The muse depicted in Brian F. Cowley's stunning photograph. 

Q. Umm, well . . . (let's see,  . . . .the lips appear to have been reddened for effect but who could mistake that adorable cocked eyebrow and gorgeous face) . .  .Who is Lady Agnew of Lochnaw? 

Why don't you tell us a little about this image and I'll feature it. 

From: Brian Crowley <>  
Date :    Thu, 02 Aug 2001  


Thank you for writing back so quickly with the answer to my question and with good humor.  I will now attempt to address your inquiry regarding the 
image I sent along. 

I have been working on two series of work simultaneously over the past few years.  One of them is called "Out on the Limb" which is photographs taken from the tops of trees looking down.  The other is my "Billboard Series" 
which is where "Boston's Singer" falls into. 

I have always been intrigued with the subtle and overt messages that we are being subjected to.  So, I have been recording the most fascinating to me 
for some time now. 

Two summer's ago, I was driving in Boston and a bus pulled up right next to me with this beautiful image of a woman on it.  I didn't recognize it as a 
Sargent, but there was text on the back of the bus indicating that Sargent was in town at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. 

I had been courting a museum for some time, and finally they asked me if I wanted a Fall slot and I naturally said of course.  We reviewed my portfolio 
and some of the series I was working on.  Everyone was crazy about the Singer image--it just resonated throughout the entire board-room. 

Although my prints are eventually printed digitally (by the best printers), I do little retouching, other than to remove dust and scratches incurred during scanning.  Of course different films render images differently--and more importantly I will not question what is obvious to me a serious authority--but I think the image on the bus was most likely perhaps printed a little more saturated for "effect." 

Let me know if you are interested in showing it in any aspect . . . I truly do appreciate you setting the record straight for me. 

Thanks again. 

Brian F. Crowley 

From: Natasha 

I love the image Brian and good luck with your show. 


What's New
To What's New Page Winter 2002

Decemeber 19, 2001 

Merry Christmas everybody. I'm getting much closer at reaching the vision I had set out for this site. I'm making progress, substantial progress, on a number of fronts which is kind of exciting and this last month has been very productive. I think you will find a nice present to unwrap. 

The first item on the agenda is to highlight my new automatic What's New update service. My updates have been more spread out now. I don't know why -- other than  it takes some time to do a what's new page -- I guess I'm getting lazy, In any regards, if you log in your e-mail it will automatically inform you when I make changes to this page. 

Paintings Added: 

Filling in a little color to the Chronology pages. In fact this is kind of how I had thought of doing this whole thing. I first start off with a bare-bone chronology of his life and then add the meat with essays and exhibits which should really start to fill all of this out quite nicely. In fact, I'm a little tickled at how nice its coming together -- even better than I thought. Which is simply wonderful. 

If you have noticed, I've added a listing (under the index) of other artists I'm highlighting such as Boldini, and have now added with more to come: 

Other Stuff: Added places Sargent went that were significant or of note along with Studio photographs: 
  and added thumbnails to: Nicole Kidman does Sargent: Glamor photography "in the tradition of  John Singer Sargent"  

I thought it was high time I got around to giving what Wonsug Jung sent me a better presentation. Hey, it's only taken two years to get this  right, that's not too bad . . . . (blush). 

I thought it quite topical given  Nicole Kidman has just been voted the top entertainer of the year -- whatever that means. I did love her in Moulin Rouge (though the film itself just didn't quite make it . . .  for some reason, I don't know. I was really in their corner pulling for them. It was one of those movies I wanted so badly to love and it just missed the mark somehow. I still  want to see it again when its out in video) 

Forum Entries: 

Stephanie sent me a link showing that Thomas Edison Filmed Carmencita.  

Extra Extra read all about it: Genway Gao saw differences in other paintings (namely Mrs Charles Russell) at the Retrospective show and things develop further on Madame Ramon Subercaseaux 

Scott wants help identifng a painting on a book cover  

Steven Matthew Sargent writes about his relation to JSS. In the past I've gotten a number of letters from relatives, or people who were pretty sure they were related but didn't know how. I thought it would be a good idea to add a Genealogy of Sargent's family. I realize this probably doesn't have any interest to the vast general population, but it does help, at least for me in trying to understand all of these cousins that he knew, painted and hung around with -- at least it's a start at understanding it. 

But enough of all this nonsense. Do you know what's happier than a pig wallowing in manure? Why it's Natasha shopping for Christmas and it's time I get out there and do some more, so take care and see you next year everybody. 

 November 14, 2001 

Paintings Added: 

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?  

Just for a minute sit back and visualize this -- play along with me just for just a minute -- humor me:  

Okay, how many art museums are there in the world? A lot, right? And think of all these museums putting an image of all their artwork on the net -- every one of them, from studies and sketches, to paintings and sculpture -- everything on the net. Everybody that has a Monet, or a Sargent, or a Homer, or a Turner, or a whatever -- Every painting, everywhere, in every collection,  digitalized and placed onto the net. Just think of it!!!  

Now, imagine if you will a small voluntary army of enthusiasts that go around to all these museum sites compiling just the work of one particular artist, each at their own little site, the entire collections of each artist's work put together. Just think of it!!! Thousands of people doing thousands of websites, compiling the entire works of each artist!!!!! 

The quantum jump in the understanding of art history could be phenomenal! It could be unprecedented! It would be like walking out of Plato's cave on each and every artist. The possibilities in understanding are staggering.  

And you know what? It's happening. Little by little it's happening. I'm seeing it coming together, just in the three years I've been working on this it has been snowballing. A lot of credit has to go to some very visionary people at some of the key institutions in the world. They could have been proprietary with their artwork and narrow minded. But they chose to get these images out into the net, such as the Tate Gallery in London; or the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC; and others are following in line such as the Boston Fine Arts; and even the smaller ones now. It's happening!!! And it's damn exciting!!!! 

Just think of it? 

Quite frankly, I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the new images that are appearing on the net -- BUT I'm not complaining!!! 

God bless you Tate Gallery -- and all the rest of you 

Jim Sowa writes about his trip to Sargent's gravesite. 

October 20, 2001 

"In the beginning there was Sargent and Sargent created the murals and the portraits. And prior to this, the portraits were formless and void and darkness was over the surface of all canvases. Then Sargent said, ‘Let there be Red'; and there was Dr Pozzi at Home. And Sargent saw that Red and felt that the Red was–"
"Was what?" 

"I don't know. It just stops." 

"What do you mean it just stops? What did he feel?" 

"I mean it just stops. There's no more." 

"Is it torn out? Missing?" 

"No, it just stops." 

"Things don't just stop. Are you sitting on it?" 

"No. Look." 

"Look behind you." 

"I'm telling you–" 

"Things don't just stop! Get up! It's probably behind your seat." 

"I'm telling you--" 

"It must be under this pillow." 

"Would you stop." 

"Where did you set it down?" 

"I didn't." 

"Remember? You got a phone call at the library." 

"Would you cut it out!" 

"And you put it down at the checkout counter, Remember?" 

"Stop it." 

"Is this your bag?" 

"It's not in there." 

"Any other pockets?" 

"Cut it out. It just stops. There's no more. Would you listen. It just stops! . . . . What? . . . " 

"What's this?" 


"It's from Adam Sutcliffe." 

"I've never seen that before." 

"It's in your bag." 

"I didn't check that out. Let me see." 

"No wait–" 

"Let me see." 

"No hold on a minute." 

"What is it?" 

" . . . Oh yeah . . . ." 

"What? Let me see?" 

"Just wait a minute! Let me read it first! . . . . Oh my God. . . ." 


"This is it." 


"The answer." 

"Let me see!" 

"Oh my God! . . ." 


"Your not going to believe this." 

"Cut it out. Let me see it." 

"Here. You read it yourself. You're going to love this!!!!!" 

:::::::Article by Adam Sutcliffe::::::::::: 

Have you ever read something that just looses so much of its meaning if it is read only in excerpts? I mean have you read things that the author had no intention to mislead you, but when you finally got to the original source and read the whole thing completely it just took on a flavor and a meaning that just defies being quoted in small chunks? 

There has always something about reading Henry James. I remember from the time I was reading his work in school I just fell in love with the power of his pen and the way he could manipulate a sentence -- a sentence that could go on for ever sometimes, but a sentence that would have more weight and meaning than an entire body of some contemporary writers. For as long as I can remember, I have been in love with the mechanics of James words and how they can sometimes sing off the page. It's not so much his stories. In fact, I can't even get through his novels without getting completely worn out and bored, but some of his short stories are remarkable. 

When I was growing up, I remember my mother reading to me (both my parents did actually) and one of the  children's books (there were many)  was "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. My dad, when I was a little older read to me Treasure Island, Kidnaped and David Balfour (he was a big Stevenson fan). It was hard not to fall in love with the stories too. My dad was really into ships and boats, and there always seemed to those kind of things in the stories. To come to think of it, some of the fondest thoughts I have of my parents are of the times when they read to me right before bedtime. I remember pulling on my dad's arm begging him to read one more chapter please! please! please! with my mother insisting that it was far too late and that I needed to go to bed and that there would always be tomorrow. I think those books lasted many, many nights. But I'm digressing.  

When I got to highschool, I discovered the power of letters. There was a book of correspondence between Robert Louis Stevenson and Henry James which I checked out. You could tell that between them there was a shared understanding of a whole idea of the written word. This whole period for me has always captivated me. One of the most rewarding things for me, as a fan of all these guys, is to discover how they all interacted, when I had always compartmentalized them before. I will never forget the letter -- and it was one of the last ones of the book -- a letter that Henry James wrote to Stevenson's wife after her husbands death in condolence. It floored me. In one of the most difficult times for anyone to express themselves, James had managed to write one of the most beautiful things I have ever read -- EVER! Just sitting here now, I'm touched by my memory of the way he expressed, not only what Stevenson meant to him, but at how he could not fathom what her loss must be for someone who was that much closer to his greatness. It was the most powerful thing I have ever read. I've never been able to find that book since. 

Some things James does, he just does very very well; and to excerpt it in quotes, you just loose so much of the flavor. Some meals are much more than the sum of their ingredients; and some essays are much more than the sum of their ideas. Henry James article for Harper's Magazine in October 1887 called "John S. Sargent" is such an article and it bears reading in its entirety to get its full flavor. 

"John S. Sargent" by Henry James 

Okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker. If someone lobs up a big fat juicy softball pitch, I swing at it. Carol J. Lancaster, PhD on October 16th did just that when she asked "Why are you so interested in Rosina Ferraro and George Barse?"  

It was just too inviting and I couldn't help myself. My answer is just way over the top but Stephanie saves me by giving a more concise answer. (To Question) 

So your at a party with a group of people that you sort-of-kind-of know -- at least by reputation, and in conversation someone just blurts it out. It was the obvious question, THE question on everyone's mind and the whole room grows deadly silent. The tension is so thick a knife aint going to cut it. Everyone had been thinking it. Everyone was dying to ask it. But nobody had the guts, at least until now. And there the question sits like a pregnant bride without a groom and everyone is looking at each other, and all you want to do is just melt away and laugh out loud that someone finally had the guts to come out and ask it. 

Well Genway Gao is the one that asked the question, but instead of slinking away, I stepped up with my big fat pregnant belly and took it to the next level: What IS the truth about Madame Ramon Subercaseaux painting? 

Here is something I've been working on for about a year. Yeah, a year, I can't believe it. It's a little off topic, but it really fills in the color a little fuller of Sargent's story. One of the best ways of studying someone is to study who they hang out with. Here is an artists that most of us don't hear a lot about, at least in the States. I intend to do this with more of John's art friends that were close to him. I just don't know when I'll ever get around to it. I have a lot of this on my hard dive already, it just takes a lot of time to get it online, but I think you'll enjoy this one. I do.  

The art, the life, and the work of Giovanni Boldini. 

Paintings Added: 

September 11, 2001 


August 28, 2001 

For those that are interested in art only you better skip all this because I spent most of my time trying to learn how to host a website. 


What I found out so far I should have done this a long time ago. Still haven't sorted out all the cost involved but here is what I've found out so far. 

I went over to Allen Rodgers's site at And I downloaded the program called "TheServer". This is amazing, it was easy to download and got it up and running  in minutes. Had a little problem since I'm running windows 95 and needed a new windsock but Allen laid it out so easily and fixed it right away. The program claims to allow you to be your own server if you have DSL (I have it on order) and all you have to do is point people to your domain name at your computer and . . . presto chang-o your computer itself is now part of the Internet. Supposedly you don't have firewall problems because there is no portal for uploading and downloading -- but this is all beyond me.  

I went over and registered a new domain name for the gallery through a place where I work. The gallery will hensforth be called, or the address will be called "". It's a simple enough name. Obviously "" would have been the preferred name, but that's already taken. I considered the name of but that puts it over 28 characters and (as I just learned) some browsers, e-mail servers etc can't handle names greater than 28 characters, so "" it will be. Hope you like it. Don't try it yet, the name is reserved but it's not yet pointing to anything. 

In truth I don't think the domain name really means all that much. I anticipate most of my traffic will be from search engines and referrals from people like you who are giving links to my site. The quality of my pages and the gallery in its entirety will assure enough web exposure. Build quality and they will come, right? The domain name -- for me anyway -- is just a way of anchoring the pages to a permanent name address which I can then move to other servers in the future without having to reformat every page -- I figured the shorter and simpilar the better. 

Now the thing with the DSL is (as I'm learning -- there apparently isn't just one kind - imagine that -- they can't make anything simple can they?) What apparently I signed up for is an ADSL which doesn't allow (in my case anyway) for a "static" IP address (the same URL code each time I log in) Apparently with my ADSL I will be given a random IP address, within their family of IP addresses every time I log on. I went ahead and signed up for this because it's a promotional thing and I get the modem and instillation free. The ADSL cost $49.95 per month and I get 128K uploading and 768K downloading. If you figure I'm paying $20 bucks a month now for web service another another $29 for significantly faster service is worth it.  With that I get 4 Meg of web space (laughably small, but I might be able to set up my frontpage there pointing to a body of pages someplace else). I haven't yet priced the IDSL (which is the static IP address 144K upload / 144k download -- which is what I'll need to be a web server, but I figured since the modem and instillation is free for this lesser service I'll let them get me up and running to see if DSL works for me before I look into taking the next step (I'll have to actually buy a modem if the higher speed and static address) 

I e-mailed Brian F. Crowley (the artist that did the photo of Lady Agnew on the bus) since he has his own domain name and site and asked him where his pages are housed. He wrote back and said he's at which has 100 meg space for $20 per month. 

I got in a chat room and quickly found from other friendly digit-heads (I guess I'm one now as well) At Dimension 8 they give you 200 meg at $16/month or $99/year   and another unbelievably low price at for $10 for 150 meg space a month or $20 a month for 300 meg space. I'm kind of leery of these sites and wonder if they are legitimate. Does anyone know of any others that are good that you know are legit? 

Anyway, it seemed I needed to find out how much space I really needed. A did a file search of my John Singer Sargent section of my computer and it revealed that I have 6,947 files, in 116 folders all containing 215 meg of space. Now all of that is not up on the net. 

Currently at talk city you get 12 meg of space for each website. I started with just one site, of course, and grew to having 7 which I seamlessly have put together -- did you even notice? The structure is a bit odd, but it works: 

Natasha2d (which was my very first site)  houses the thumbnail Chronology section madame x and some of the other first paintings. Then I added Johnsingersargent which houses the front page, forum, bibliography, and some painting plates 
then I started piling on sites as they filled up:  
and finally Jssnat3  

or a total of 7 separate sites for 84 meg of space. And that is all about 95% full. 

A lot of the paitnings are not actually at my site such as the work at Harvard and the National Gallery of Art in DC which you branch to off of my pages. This and accounts for a big chunk of the difference between what i have on my hard drive and what i have online (there is also file notes and stuff). It appears that I can get by with 100 Meg Maybe even less if I'm really shrewd and juggle some of the painting on free servers. Or maybe being my own server will really work if the IDSL price isn't too much. 

What talkcity just deleted was my Jssmap site which contained most all of the Venice pages. It really freaked me out that they wuld do that, but I think what must have happened is that the site was registered under an old e-mail address. They must have shown the address to have gone bad and just automatically deleted the site. I can't really imagine that they would take the time to weed out rouge members who are badmouthing their pop-up ad campaign. But it doesn't really matter because it put the fear of God in me to get going on doing something permanenet. The work I have to do to get the 12 meg of pages back up from the Jssmap site might as well be towards something permanent. 

Ok, with the DSL on order, I can't really do anything until that's up and running. I need to start restructuring the website for the new domain name of, the long work of changing links on every single page now begins. I figure I'll get the main page up (of course) and the thumbnail Chronology section up on a new site, leave the old links to the painting plates and come back and correct those when I have time. I think its important to get the main pages off talkcity, and some of the major essays, the rest can follow more slowly. 

There is no sense in going through the trouble of deleting the old talkcity pages, just leave them up and change the front page to point to my new location, in time people will understand what I'm doing and the double exposure won't hurt anything. 

How this is all going to be paid for is unknown. I just got to believe that i'll figure something out, maybe poster orders and book orders CAN cover this cost if I can keep it low enough. Do you think? 

I spell all this out so clearly (or not so clearly as the case may be) because I know I have a number of people out there pulling for me. Everybody might as well consider themselves on my board of directors, what is there to hide? Nothing. And there is everything to gain from your  input and the helpful suggestions that I'm getting means a lot to me. Quite frankly I'm not smart enough to invent the wheel all over again 

take care 



Oh yeah, before the Hindenburg exploded on me, I was working on a major rewrite of Frederick Law Olmsted. You can see a first draft on my major rewrite here. 

August 17, 2001 

Paintings Added: 
George Nathaniel      Undated 
Tyrolese Interior       1913-1914 
William Merritt Chase        1902 
Head of an Arab    1890-1891 
Mr. & Mrs. John White Field       1881-1882 

August 8, 2001 

"A work is finished when we can no longer improve it, though we know it to be inadequate and incomplete. We are so overtaxed by it that we no longer have the power to add a single comma, however indispensable. What determines the degree to which a work is done is not a requirement of art or of truth, it is exhaustion and, even more, disgust" 

-- Emil Maurice Cioran  
(Rumania born writer b. 1911) 

By the end of April I found myself emotionally exhausted. It was a culmination of a number of factors. The site had led me into the commerce of Sargent's work as it is today, and made me face an art market that I, personally, find very unpleasant. If this was a job, if I were being paid, it would be something that I would just have to learn to live with; but it's not and I'm not, and I found that my research was leading me away from what I derive joy from and into an area that is nothing more than drudgery to me. Secondly, as with any relationship that doesn't have rejuvenative forces, Sargent and his art began to grate on me. I found my relationship to my subject to have grown into  an old grumpy couple. The elitist tendencies of the gilded age and especially the patrons that hired him were bothering me and I was becoming too distracted and disgusted. Thirdly, the server where this is housed (talkcity) started to impose very aggressive ads that no one can get around. Large,  deceptive ads that pop right to the center of the screen. All my efforts, all my time were at risk of becoming useless since no one in their right mind would put up with such blatant encroachment. In reflection I came to the realization that I have over a thousand hours invested in this thing - and to what end? By the end of May, after completing the page of "The Market Place" I was used up, bled dry. There was nothing left in the well. Though the gallery was very much incomplete, I couldn't stand to even look at it.  

Stick a fork in me. I'm done.  

Surprisingly though, the site hasn't substantially suffered from those god-awful ads (though measuring its impact and at what point people just give up is unknown --  I personally find it so annoying it drives me nuts). If the web counter service is to be believed, it has remained nearly as popular as ever with unique user  hits between 50 and 100 people a day, 430 a week, projecting at a rate of 22,500+- unique visitors a year -- a really quite phenomenal number given there isn't any major exhibitions of his work going on at the moment, or Sargent's "second rate" status in the minds of many in the public surfing for historical art. The gallery is reaching  people -- irregarless of the annoying ads -- and is turning them on to Sargent and a period few know much about. The demographics of the viewers (which I've teased from letters sent to me) are made up of highly educated (self taught or otherwise) and students. They represent the very cream of the population surfing the net from every corner of the world. It was the audience I had actually wanted to reach. For me, it was always about quality and not quantity. One web surfer of intellectual curiosity is worth 40 mindless picture surfers. It would seem that on the cusp of realizing something truly wonderful, I was emotionally walking away form it. 

It hadn't been the first time I had stepped away. Looking back, there's been other periods when I felt I'd reached the end and I just needed to take a break. I knew that when I returned, if I returned as intensely as I have in the past,  something had to change with a new focus and a new direction. I had to step back and give it distance and time. Privately I wrote to a number of people for ideas, but in the end I knew it had to come from me. 

With reflection and time, the depleted well of vigor of enthusiasm  is once again dripping with the tease of possibilities and  the joy of discovery always  hovering around the next page. I know what could be -- what might be -- if I just reach out and grabbed it.  

But knowing what needs to be done doesn't make it any easier. In fact, this time its going to be much more difficult. I stand at the beginning of another adventure, anticipating, fidgeting, and quite frankly scared to death. The hurdles seem to loom ahead of me larger and higher than before. It's not just one mountain this time, it's a whole range of mountains that tower up into the clouds like one of Sargent's watercolors -- the seemingly impenetrable Alps; and for me to climb it alone is frightening. It's too risky. It's not worth it. Where is the payoff?  I'm almost certain to fail. With over a thousand hours invested, the personal risks now seem very real. A substantial chunk of time is already invested, and instead of hedging, I'm proposing to risk more? It seems a bit crazy! 

And so there I have it -- what separates me from what is, and what could be. The challenge: to take the John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery  move it off of TalkCity and with its own domain name. Every single page needs to be reformatted (which will be close to a hundred hours of work I estimate) for this new site and somehow, someway, I need to find founding to pay for it. The thing is, the Gallery is bigger than someone's hobby -- or it could be, but it needs backing that, quite honestly, I don't have.  I have run this on a shoestring and invested my own personal time with not one penny profit. I have looked at models for getting royalties from book orders and poster orders and I don't see how that's going to be sustaining. Clearly there has got to be other funding sources to make this thing work.  

This will take some time to complete. It won't happen in weeks but over many months. I'm a completely convinced that this has been a worthy endeavor and has done a great deal to enlighten the world about a great artist. That there is a hunger for sites of substance beyond the flashy graphics and that there is a way (somehow) to support it. The efforts by so many other people who have contributed here is worth saving. It's worth keeping free. It's worth keeping available to the world on the net. 

Paintings Added: 

The Blind Musicians     1912 
John Fyfe       1892-1893 
Mrs J. W. Crombie     1898 
Self Portrait 1886    1885-1886 
Shoeing the Ox    1902 
Mountain Scene: The Tyrol     1913-1914 
A Landscape Study at San Vigilio, Lake of Garda    1913-1914 
Mary Turner Austin: pencil 
Girl Fishing at San Vigilio   1913-1914 
Portrait of Mrs. Harry Vane Milbank       1883-1884 
The Simplon: Large Rocks     1911 
Portrait of Ralph Curtis on the Beach at Scheveningen    1880 
Portrait of Geoffrey Murray-Smith "mug"     1915-1916 
A Spanish Woman (Gigia)    1879 
Florence: Torre Galli      1911 
Beatrice Goelet        1890 
Henry Cabot Lodge      1890 
Portrait of Mrs. Daniel Sargent Curtis    1881-1882 
Sir Philip Sassoon    1920-1924 

Forum Entries: 

Stephanie writes about George Randolph Barse & did the feminist movement influence Sargent? 

Umberto Vettori writes: Paul Delvaux & Madame X both transend time 

Abby Ann Newbold Vigneronrites writes about her family's connection to two of sargent's paintings 

Notes added to King Philip IV (of Spain)      1879 

The Sargent House museum has a new website 

"The Sargent I Knew" by Mary Newbold Patterson Hale. Orinally published in The World Today, November 1927 

What's New Page Spring 2001