Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Worth a Thousand Words: John Singer Sargent's Theodore Roosevelt

John Singer Sargent, Theodore Roosevelt, 1903
I really love the story that goes with this. It completes the painting for me.
The famous expatriate artist arrived in America in January 1903 and soon received a letter from Roosevelt inviting him to live in the White House during the month of February to work on the portrait....

Together [Sargent and Roosevelt] toured the White House while Sargent looked for proper light and a good pose.... As Roosevelt led the way upstairs, so the story goes, he said, "The trouble with you Sargent, is that you don't know what you want." "No," replied the artist, "the trouble, Mr. President, is that you don't know what a pose means." Roosevelt turned sharply back, grasped the newel-post and snapped, "Don't I!" "Don't move an inch. You've got it now," responded Sargent.
Notes from Kloss, William, et al.
Art in the White House: A Nation's Pride.

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