Under the Influence: John Singer Sargent


learn about the portraits of John Singer Sargent http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2015/08/under-influence-john-singer-sargent.html @metmuseum #metsargent @schulmanaArt
The two artists that have had the greatest influence over my portraits are John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt. Today, I am going to turn the spot light on Sargent as I have just revisited some of these influential portraits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can see them as well until October 8, 2015. 

In this portrait above, Portrait of a Boy, Sargent paints the child of one of his friends. You can learn a little bit more about that portrait in Hands: The Second Portrait.

Here, Sargent does nothing to disguise the boy’s bored expression. He gets right to the heart and soul of the boy’s personality. This is the effect I am going for as well when I paint children.


For example, in this portrait do you see the same dreamy bored expression on the boy to the far left? It was really hard to keep this easily distracted child from giggling and laughing; however, I managed to capture him at a more introspective moment. This was not easy and I actually had to combine two photographs to get all three kids at the moment that best expressed each.

I was lucky to have a warm sunny day to photograph the kids in sunlight and then capture that in watercolor. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to paint this commission.


portrait paintings of John Singer Sargent and @schulmanart #MetSargent @metmusuem http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2015/08/under-influence-john-singer-sargent.html
In these two paintings, you can see a more direct correlation between Sargent’s influence and my painting. After viewing “The Birthday Party” at a 2004 Brooklyn Museum exhibition, “Great Expectations”, I went home and immediately began working on this painting of my daughter lit by the similar candlelight. The two toddlers (mine and Sargent’s subject) are apparently overwhelmed by the adult prepared parties. You can see “The Birthday Party” at the Met’s 2015 Sargent exhibition as well.


portrait paintings of John Singer Sargent and @schulmanart #MetSargent @metmusuem http://schulmanart.blogspot.com/2015/08/under-influence-john-singer-sargent.html
Another painting that appears in both exhibitions and exerted a strong influence on my art is “Carnation Lily Lily Rose” (above bottom left) as well another painting, Garden Study of the Vickers Children.

In these paintings by Sargent, I admired the placing of children in a garden. Although they are surrounded by flowers, they out shine the flowers around them. I like to link the idea of children to flowers as I believe children are like flowers in the garden with each blooming on their own schedule. My paintings are the three watercolors on top, top right and bottom right. Sargent’s painting is at the bottom left.


You can view my commissioned portraits on my website. If you are in the New York metropolitan area, I do portraits on commission. If you are an aspiring artist you may be interested in my online class on portrait painting in watercolor. 


Other stories you might like

More About Me

For super fans only: You can stay connected with me 
through one of my newsletters where I curate my content 
for either artists or art collectors, but if you want to receive 
everyone of my blog posts the day after I write them. you 
can subscribe to them via by Email I write about  

Hey, I’m Miriam Schulman and I create mixed media art to tell stories. I also teach other people how to craft their stories with art. I give them the techniques they need to get the results they desire which brings more joy to their lives. 


My art has been published by Somerset StudioArt of Man and the New York Times among others and collected by an international audience. When I’m not working on art in my studio, you’ll find me in a museum spending time with friends or family. Explore my art at SchulmanArt.com or join the fun at TheInspirationPlace.net 


Leave a Comment



I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

Recent Posts

Search this blog


The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity

Free artpreneur chapter