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Sargent’s consummate skills as a portraitist are evident in this painting of thirteen-year-old Alice Shepard, the great-granddaughter of the industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt. Here, rapid brushwork, flourishes of rich blacks, dazzling whites, and the pillow’s sumptuous notes of color combine with Sargent’s sensitive treatment of flesh to create a strikingly intimate view of adolescence. Despite the portrait's informality, Sargent reveals the intelligence, contemplative nature, and introspective character that lie beneath the sitter’s beauty.

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