John Singer Sargent’s Mrs. Cecil Wade shows the 23-year-old wife of an English stockbroker occupying the spacious drawing room of her luxurious London townhome. Sitting stiffly on a settee, she projects a refined, austere presence. Her chiseled profile suggests reserve as well as elevated social status. Conditioned by contemporary French and 17th-century Spanish painting techniques, Sargent’s talented brush impressively evokes a range of lighting effects and textures, including fine satin, polished wood and sheer curtains. Mrs. Cecil Wade was among Sargent’s first significant commissions upon relocating to London from Paris in 1886. His move was prompted by a scandal involving his sensuous Madame X (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), which had recently offended Parisian audiences and had temporarily undermined his market there.