Max Beerbohm's John S. Sargent   (Frontpage)  (See more on Max Beerbohm)  (Thumbnail Index)

John S. Sargent
Max Beerbohm -- British writer and caricaturist (1872-1956)
Tate Gallery, London
Graphite and pen with wash
16 x 8 1/2 in
Jpg: Friend of the JSS Gallery

The drawing appeared in the Christmas Supplement of the British magazine The World (1900). It would be Beerbohm's first  caricature of Sargent. By the turn of the century, John had a commanding reputation as the preeminent portraitist. Here, Max lampoons him -- very much against character type -- as the conceited king of all artists. 

To understand the joke would be to understand Sargent's real personality. In a letter from Gertrude Bell to her mother, in March of 1904, might give you a glimpse: 

     . . .I have been making friends, in a modest way, with Sargent whom I like particularly. He is incredibly unspoilt, simple and natural and outgoing. I spent a morning in his studio the other day - he wanted me to see a portrait he was painting. I liked the portrait very much and the painter still more. . .   The truth is that when he is at his best no one can touch him, and he generally is perfectly aware himself when he is not. . .

    (The Gertrude Bell Archive, letter: Sunday, 20 March 1904 To Florence Spring-Rice nee Lascelles -- Rounton Grange, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Emgland.) 


Special thanks to Wonsug Jung, of Korea, a friend of the JSS Gallery, for originally getting this image onto the net. 

By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2002 all rights reversed
Created 10/24/2002