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Aaron Augustus Healy

John Singer Sargent

American Art

Two years after he sat for this portrait by Sargent, the Brooklyn Museum president A. Augustus Healy led a breathtakingly swift campaign to purchase the entire cache of Sargent’s watercolors from the 1909 Knoedler & Company exhibition. An astute collector, Healy already owned one of the artist’s most recent oil paintings, Dolce Far Niente (also on view in the exhibition). Their first contact had occurred more than a decade earlier; Sargent had brokered the Museum’s purchase of a Giovanni Boldini portrait of James McNeill Whistler in 1897 and the purchase of James Tissot’s monumental watercolor series The Life of Christ in 1900. Sargent’s 1909 exhibition had been open for only two days when Healy expressed his interest to Roland Knoedler in buying the group. Twenty-four hours later, Sargent agreed to Healy’s offer of $20,000, and the transaction was completed.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1907
DIMENSIONS 34 1/16 x 28 3/4 in. (86.5 x 73 cm) frame: 44 1/4 x 40 x 4 1/8 in. (112.4 x 101.6 x 10.5 cm)
SIGNATURE Signed upper right: "John S. Sargent"
CREDIT LINE Bequest of A. Augustus Healy
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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