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Description - Strapless by Deborah Davis

This is the story behind the legendary John Singer Sargent painting that propelled the artist to international renown but condemned his subject to a life of public ridicule. John Singer Sargent's Madame X is one of the world's best-known portraits. Few people, though, know the fascinating story behind the painting. "Madame X" was actually a twenty-three-year-old New Orleans Creole, Virginie Gautreau, who moved to Paris and quickly became the "it girl" of her day. All the leading artists wanted to paint her, but it was Sargent, a relative nobody, who won the commission. But when it was unveiled at the 1884 Paris Salon, Gautreau's portrait led its subject to infamy rather than stardom. Sargent had painted one strap of Gautreau's dress dangling from her shoulder, suggesting, to outraged Parisian viewers, either the prelude or the aftermath of sex. Her reputation ruined, Gautreau eventually retreated from society, destroying all the mirrors in her house. In contrast, Sargant's reputation grew and he became both rich and renowned. Today, his work is admired, and Madame X, designed to make a reputation but wreaking ruin and scandal, has become an iconic image of an age.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780750937061
ISBN-10: 0750937068
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Pages: 239
Imprint: The History Press Ltd
Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publish Date: 15-Apr-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Deborah Davis

Deborah Davis is a writer and veteran film executive who has worked as a story editor and story analyst. She is co-organising an exhibition of Sargent's Women for exhibition in New York with Richard Ormond and writing the exhibition catalogue.