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John Singer Sargent’s Jewish Sitters


Thursday, June 29, 2023
6:30 – 7:30 pm EDT
YouTube Video Premiere

At the turn of the last century, John Singer Sargent was acclaimed as a portraitist on both sides of the Atlantic, admired both for his perceptive studies of character and for his sumptuous technique. Complementing the Jewish Museum’s exhibition, The Sassoons, this illustrated lecture by Erica Hirshler, Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings, MFA Boston explores Sargent’s numerous portrayals of Jewish sitters, contextualizing their artistic achievement and exploring the critical response they received. From his electric portrayals of members of the Wertheimer family to his debonair portrait of Philip Sassoon, Sargent’s work reveals an aesthetic agenda intertwined with issues of nationality, heritage, and aspiration.

About the Speaker:

An expert in late 19th and early 20th century American painting, Erica Hirshler has published extensively on American Impressionism, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and women artists and collectors. She is particularly interested in artistic exchange between the United States and Europe and issues of national identity. She also studies Boston’s history, art, and patronage. Hirshler holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MA and PhD from Boston University, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Terra Foundation of American Art. Her next exhibition, an interdisciplinary project exploring John Singer Sargent, fashion, and the construction of character, will open in the Fall of 2023.

Premiering on the Jewish Museum's YouTube Channel on June 29 at 6:30 PM.

Installation view of The Sassoons at the Jewish Museum, NY, March 3 - August 13, 2023. Photo: Kris Graves.