Natasha Wallace, Editor
The official publication of the JSS Virtual Gallery
May/June 2004 
Vol. I
Just Blotted
New Since Last Update

Hills of Galilee, 1906; Palazzo Corner della Ca' Grande, 1907

Stop the Press 

Sotheby's auction of May 19, 2004 brought some big money for Sargent's art. Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, one of the more famous of his up for sale realized $8,800,000 (US) at the hammer price with buyer's premium. That would be a cool million-eight more than what was anticipated.  Casino developer Steve Wynn and his wife, Elaine, were the buyers and they plan on hanging it in their new casino, Wynn Las Vegas.

There were six works total and all went above estimated price. A personal favorite of mine was "Madame Roger-Jourdain", which went for $2,696,000; an oil from his Venetian Studies called "Venetian Courtyard" got $5,608,000; a watercolor "Drying Sails" brought $321,600; A "mug" of Mrs. Reginald Grenville Eves  went for $90,000; and a "mug" of PeterHarrison realized $42,000. 

Letters to the Editor 

Simone Simonian 

I don't know if you saw any part of the Bill Clinton speech, with regards to his portrait unveiling [on the 12th of June] he said he wanted to thank Simmie Knox, the artist for making him part of history, and more specifically pointed out that his favorite portrait in the white house is of Teddy Roosevelt, painted by JS Sargent, and the next one he loves is of Teddy R. by Lasslo, I thought that was a great acknowledgment. (go to)

Karen Goodchild 

I wonder if anyone knows the contents of Sargent's library--was it ever documented? (go to) I have  a hunch about the Carrara trip, but I don't want to share it until I can further verify it. Finally--did Sargent write any poetry? (go to)

Editor's Note - such good questions. In fact so good it made me reorganize my Forum Section (go to)

Buddy Hicks

There have probably been 50 paintings of the Spanish Dancer by my fellow students. It is one of my favorite paintings (I have done it twice)! [But what is the actual size? -- anyone?] (go to)

Sarah Wickham 

I'm the archivist at Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, UK). We have a pencil sketch by Sargent of a former violin student, Lena Kontorovich. It's not an amazing piece of art but...(go to)

Chris Register 

I was recently in Venice, and there is a canal side to the Scuola di San Rocco, and it is quite possible to see exactly where JSS must have been to paint this watercolor. (go to)

Francesca Miller 

Since I live in Los Angeles a small group is planning a trek to the Hammer to gaze upon dear Sam Pozzi's beautiful face. I'd love to bring a wreath but I don't think the people at 
the museum would go for it. . . . (go to) 

Paul Darby 

Dear Natasha, Out of curiosity - why are some of the charcoal drawings called "mugs" and others are not? (go to)

John "Doe"

 " . . .was just looking at the piece on Dr Pozzi. . . . Not only is Sargent learning from his contemporaries as you mentioned with Whistler but he is constantly testing his own limits and growing. (go to)

Paul Darby 
Sat, 22 May 2004

Perhaps you remember my interest in 
Augustus John's "Princess Bibesco" . . . After 24 years my wife and I finally had a chance to [see a drawing Sargent did of her] (go to) [also] I'm sending an image of another Augustus John oil he did of her in 1919 (go to)

Wendy & Gordon Hawksley 
 Sunday, April 25, 2004 

We were in Broadway yesterday and made a special point of photographing Russell House for you, as we promised many months ago (go to)

Tim Strasser 
<Tc  ur>
May 18, 2004 

Hi Natasha, my name is Tim Strasser and I'm a relative of John Singer Sargent's. My mother's maiden name is Sargent and we have the genealogy book of the Sargent Family to prove it (go to). . . . 

Ron Webb 
Mon, 10 May 2004 

"Seeing an exhibit of Sargent's work In LA just set a direction for my path." (go to)

Robert Van Valkenburg 
<gra fva> 
Saturday, April 17, 2004 

Dear Natasha,

Was browsing around some of my bookmarks and came back to the Richard Morris Hunt site. Hunt has been a God of mine ever since I first visited the Breakers in 1960 at the age of 13. I would like to tell you that I would be happy to supply you with a much better picture of the Breakers than the badly back lit one you are now using on the site. I have some really lovely ones taken in the morning light which are much more flattering to this greatest of all houses. Also I am sad to report to you that what you have labeled as Willie K's Fifth Avenue Chateau designed by Hunt is in fact William Henry Vanderbilt's double mansion, a block south built shortly before and designed by John B. Snook. 640 Fifth Ave., the house on the left was remodeled in 1915 by Horace Trumbauer and became the last great Vanderbilt house in NYC, the home of Grace Wilson Vanderbilt, who lived there until about 1945. David Garrard Lowe will be repeating his fine lecture on her at the MMA on May 11th.

Yours Truly,
Robert Van Valkenburg


Natasha's What's New Index (current)
Now Showing! 


The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires

Matt Davies
6/ 3/ 2004

The National Gallery of Australia currently has an exhibit entitled "The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires," which opened there March 12 and will close June 14. Here is the link to the NGA Web site for an introduction to the exhibit: [note audio accompanies some of the paintings -- it's fantastic] (go to)

There are several Sargent works on display as part of the exhibit - Lady Evelyn Cavendish (later the Duchess of Devonshire; 1902); Lord Ribblesdale (1902); Sir Frank Swettenham (1904), The Fountain at Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy (1907); and Almina, Daughter of Asher Wertheimer (1908).

In addition, there are two other works in particular which I think will make great additions to the JSS Gallery. First, the Exhibit includes a Boldini's portrait of Lady Florence Phillips (1903). Second, there is Philip Wilson Steer's portrait of Mrs. Violet Hammersley. I have admired this portrait for years in black and white, so it was great to finally see it in color. It ties in with Sargent well as it is considered a fine example of "the grand manner" portraiture at which Sargent so excelled (e.g. The Duke of Marlborough and Family, 1905, etc.). In addition, the sitter in the portrait, as always, has a Sargent connection: the sitter's brother-in-law was Hugh Hammersley, whose wife had been painted by Sargent in 1892. 

This is one of those I've been meaning to e-mail you about for some time; sorry it took a while to get this to you.

Gondola Days: 
(An Exhibition)
Isabella Stewart Gardner and 
the Palazzo Barbaro Circle
April 21 - August 15

A Tale of JSS' Forgeries

Michele Lener 

"There have been dozens if not hundreds of paintings that were executed in Sargent's lifetime that caught his signature - not always in an attempt to deceive".

Do you remember this sentence in a letter from Elizabeth Oustinoff on March 26, 2001? I've found in the memoirs of an old Roman antiquarian, a nice little story referring - I believe - to the early beginnings of the 20th Century. It would be interesting to learn which painting (a Venetian Channel) and which wealthy American women are dealt with. (go to)

 New Release 

Sargent's Women

John Singer Sargent The Late Portraits: Complete Paintings (Volume III)  


 Natasha's Blog 

New Section added "Just Blotted"

As the Co-maniacs becomes a more filled "newspaper", I've decided to to try to help you out so you're not having to scan over everything looking for dates; and I've added the "Just Blotted" section which will always be prominent at the top of the page. It will be there where I will post new entries which will stay there until the next news-day entry and then they will be moved into the body of the page. 

If you are logged in to be notified of changes, a quick scan of "Just Blotted" should tell you everything you need to know.

 After continued program coed problems with the new Discussion Board, many e-mails writing back and forth between  Jon Aymon and I (who has been working with me on this) Jon has generously offered to host the forum at his website -- thank you Jon. He has given me the keys and it should be appear nearly seamless for you -- the reader. We are both pleased with the outcome and I am especially tickled to be partnering with yet another wonderful Patron of the JSS Gallery.

 A New Forum Discussion Board

 Thanks to Jon Aymon we have a workable useable newbie friendly discussion board -- take a look. (go to) which is imbedded in the old form here (go to)

 John, who is a programmer from San Jose, California, and a big fan of Sargent writes: "Every discussion board requires visitors to figure out a few things, [this one] seems to require them to figure out the fewest." (go to)

E-mail for Patrons 

 As a benefit for helping me, I'm thrilled that I can now offer Patrons, and Gold Key Patrons E-mail service, if you so wish. There is no cost to you. This is a thank you for helping me. If you would like to have  your e-mail to be [YourName],  just contact me and tell me youd like this and Ill set it up for you. 

With your new e-mail, messages can either be viewed at a web-based screen or forwarded to any other e-mail account you wish. 

 The web based e-mail works similarly to the free yahoo accounts or the hotmail accounts but WITHOUT  the annoying ads. The size of the accounts are set at 20 Megs of space.

 Maybe a nice benefit to becoming a Patron, or Gold Key Patron.

 For Gold Key Patrons the benefit includes a free web space for a personal web-page.

 Ad Revenue

 Like any newspaper, The Co-maniacs will live and die with advertisers. This addition of the Co-maniacs is brought to you by the friendly people of the Family Sewing Machine Co. 

Regarding the layout, I've decided to hide the links completely in order to make the page look more like a real newspaper. However, getting me to a more clean layout may just confuse people tremendously -- so I italicized the links which give somewhat of a clue, though admittedly not a very good one given this font. I don't know. I think I'll let this run for a while and see what happens. I would love to get feed back on this. Is the lack of obvious links a problem?

 The Old Doesn't Just Fade Away

Well, let me tell you. The great experiment with the blog program came crashing down in a big bubbling blazing blob of burning bites.  Everything that was written and published in the Co-maniacs since December 2003 is gone and gone forever -- as if it never existed. It wasn't quite my doing, although I'm sure I probably had something to do with it. I never could get the thing  to work right. I mean, I suppose I could have dropped everything and totally immersed myself in learning what would have been like a new program language, but what good is that when nothing was ever getting published up on the net. Anyway, as you can see I'm back to web publishing the old fashioned way -- in a manner of speaking, quill to paper scratching it out long hand. 

In it's wake, though, you can see how the whole thing was suppose to look -- well . . . . .like this. 

Besides fighting the blog wars, the front against the spam bots (is this starting to sound like a science fiction book? If you're coming on late, in chapter one the spam bots were  dumping huge amounts of spam on our heroine -- that would be me -- using my own website's Contact Form Program to send out even more spam in my name all over the world -- now isn't that a lovely thought?) I'm happy to report I've turn the corner on spam. As you will see, if you happen to write me, I have a new e-mail address and a new Contact Form which is coded to be out of reach of the spam bots.


Joan P. Jackson 
(Quoted from The Times, London, Thursday October 1, 1896) 

Yesterday afternoon. Mr. A. Braxton Hicks, the Mid-Surrey coroner, held an inquiry at the local board offices, Wimbledon, with reference to the death of Mr. FEDERICK BARNARD,  the well-known artist in black and white, who was suffocated in a fire which occurred on Saturday last at Abermaw, Merton-hall-road, Wimbledon. Mr. C. W. Langford, solicitor, attended to watch the case on behalf of Mr. Ambrose Myall, a gentleman interested. Mrs. Alice Barnard, of Wemman-house, Wenman-road, Hampstead, said the deceased was her husband, from whom she was separated. He was 50 years of age.  (go to)

Parenthetically Speaking
The Ormond Family

As an aside, you will know John's sister Violet married Francis Ormond in 1891, and since both John and his other sister Emily never had any children, the nearest decedents to John Singer Sargent were Violet's six children (three boys and three girls). Having discovered a painting by Emily Sargent (See Other Artists) thanks to Michele Lener, I just found an account of the of the Ormond family by John Singer Sargent's great nephew Richard Ormond. This is so good, in fact it is so exceptional a find -- filling in holes in my understand of Violet's husband and her children, that I'm getting this up to you before I've even finished it myself. Though the cover letter is in Italian, it translates well into English using Google and the rest is English (go to)

Drawing added: Marie Marguerite Renet Ormond (go to)


Other Artist Corner

Thanks to Matt Davies I know that Sotheby's London sold off a pair of de László portraits, Sir Robert Gresley, eleventh Baronet, and his wife, Lady Frances Gresley


With the help of Joan Powell Jackson I have added information on the artist Elinor M. Barnard (go to).

Joan also writes: "I have just read the note from Darby concerning Elizabeth Asquith [in your letters to the editor] (go to). I have recently learned that Elinor was in Washington D.C. in March of 1922 painting the 21 month old daughter, Priscilla, of Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco and the Prince. 

Joan P. Jackson 

I remember her being English and I remember her as being "old" --- I now know she was 68. . . .Elinor told [my sister] she would draw Charlie McCarthy's picture if she would "behave". . . .[she knew] Tennesse Williams and Eugene O'Neill. (go to)


Some of the most fun I have building the JSS Gallery is in bringing the various artists together and showing a connection. I'm really pleased that people seem to understand that and are always sending me tidbits and leads to do just that. Today I got a quick letter from Michele Lener about a painting that Sargent's sister Emily did. I knew she painted but had never seen one of her works before -- thanks Michele (go to)

David Brown has written me about a Giovanni Boldini painting he has called "Princes Radziwill with red ribbon" (go to).

In my continuing efforts to understand Cancale and what Sargent painted there, I have added paintings by Stanhope Alexander Forbes (go to) and Henry Herbert La Thangue(go to)