Mrs. Fiske Warren (Gretchen Osgood) and Her Daughter Rachel

John Singer Sargent1903

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Boston, MA, United States

Gretchen Osgood Warren—member of a prominent Boston family and an accomplished poet—posed with her eldest daughter at Fenway Court, now the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The works of art around the figures, such as the intricately carved chairs on which they sit, underscore their refinement. Sargent's technique here is virtuosic: note the silvery brushstrokes on Mrs. Warren's dress and the thick stroke of white, tinged with green, on the arm of the chair. Sargent emphasizes the beauty and elegance of his sitters, but the affection their poses suggest is contradicted by their aloof expressions. This portrait combines surface brilliance with an underlying air of tension.


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