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  • John Singer Sargent
    Jan 12, 1856 - Apr 14, 1925
  • El Jaleo - John Singer Sargent was an American painter by birth-right, and a leading portrait painter of his era. He loved his country yet he spent most of his life in Europe. He was the most celebrated portraitist of his time but left it at the very height of his fame to devote full time to landscape painting, water colors and public art.
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El Jaleo
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  • El Jaleo

  • John Singer Sargent
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  • 1882
    Oil on canvas
    237 x 352 cm (93 3/8 x 138 1/2 in.)
    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, United States.

    El Jaleo is one of the greatest modern paintings by John Singer Sargent and illustrates the popular fascination with Spain (Hispanism) of the time. It shows a Spanish gypsy dancer performing a flamenco dance to the accompaniment of several musicians and fellow dancers, seated alongside. The painting - along with a smaller work entitled The Spanish Dance (1882, Hispanic Society of America) came about as a result of a five-month trip which the artist took through Spain and North Africa in 1879. Stylistically, the work is related to a slightly later series of pictures produced by Sargent in Venice, which, like El Jaleo, are marked by dramatic light and shadow, as well as contrasting colours and exotic models.

    Sargent chose a huge 12 foot by 7 foot canvas as the "stage" for his intended dancer, and called the painting El Jaleo - the Spanish name for a lively solo dance accompanied by castanets. Like his fellow Parisian painters Manet (1832-83) and Renoir (1841-1919) - both of whose most spontaneous paintings were in fact deliberately and painstakingly crafted in the studio - Sargent believed in detailed preparation. He took months to complete the preparatory drawing and sketching for the painting, paying particularly close attention to the dancer's posture, the drapery of her dress (compare the dress worn in Portrait of Mrs Henry White, 1883, Corcoran Gallery of Art) and the play of shadows from what appears to be footlights. Having spent almost a year preparing the composition, the execution of it probably took him no more than a week, such was his technical virtuosity.

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stars Elif from United States.
Hi Kaizhou,

We received the painting. I love it. Thank you for your hard work!

Elif.

Other paintings by John Singer Sargent:

Muddy Alligators
Muddy Alligators
The Brook
The Brook
Reapers Resting in a Wheat Field (The Threshers)
Reapers Resting in a Wheat Field (The Threshers)
Scuola di San Rocco
Scuola di San Rocco
John Singer SargentJohn Singer Sargent was a painter especially known for his fine portraits. He is usually considered an American artist, although he spent most of his life in Europe. Sargent was born in Florence, Italy to USA parents. He studied in Italy and Germany, and then in Paris under Carolus Duran.

His portraits are remarkable for subtly capturing the individuality and personality of the sitters; his most ardent admirers think he is equaled in this only by Velázquez. Sargent's Portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), done in 1884, is now considered one of his finest works, but it aroused so much negative reaction in Paris at the time that it prompted Sargent to move to London.

Although Sargent spent less than one year in the United States, some of his finest work is there, especially his decorations for the Boston Public Library. Sargent is usually not considered an impressionist, but he sometimes used impressionistic techniques to great effect, and his Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood is beautifully rendered in an impressionist style.

Around 1910 Sargent largely abandoned portraits, focusing mostly on landscapes in his later years.

In an era when the mainstream of art was focused on Impressionism and emphasizing artistic individuality, Sargent emphasized his own form of Realism and regularly worked doing commissioned portraits of the rich. This caused him to be dismissed as an anachronism at the time, but appreciation of him as a great artist has grown since his death.