In the late 1880s, the American expatriate John Singer Sargent experimented with portrait compositions whose informality and naturalness stood in sharp contrast to his commissioned studio portraits of elegant society types. Inspired in part by the Impressionist works of his friend Claude Monet, this portrait depicts another French artist friend, Paul Helleu, and his young wife, Alice, at Fladbury, in England’s Cotswolds. Liberated from pictorial conventions, Sargent here featured the compositional asymmetry, natural light, and casual inattention of his “sitters.”
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Sun & Planets roughly to scale. Distances not to scale.