John Singer Sargent and the Matter of Paint

John Singer Sargent and the Matter of Paint


February 19, 2019

5:30 PM-6:30 PM


225 South St
Williamstown, MA 01267

Clark Fellow Susan Sidlauskas presents, “John Singer Sargent and the Matter of Paint.”

The cosmopolitan son of a physician, John Singer Sargent dissolved the distinctions among fabric, flesh, and paint with the pictorial equivalent of dissection and its counter-activities: masking, binding, suturing, folding, and wrapping, sometimes within the very same figure. The artist was not simply painting the Gilded Age finery. He was reconstituting skin, hair, and fabric as other, more ambiguous substances. 

Susan Sidlauskas teaches the history and theory of modern art at Rutgers University, where she also co-directs a research seminar on the Medical Humanities at the Center for Cultural Analysis. She is at work on a study of the medical portrait: Anglo-American patients’ photographs, c. 1885–1945, and the author of Body, Place and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting, Cézanne’s Other: The Portraits of Hortense, winner of the Robert Motherwell Book Prize from the Dedalus Foundation, and Striking Resemblance, with Donna Gustafson. She was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2014. At the Clark, Sidlauskas intends to complete her book, John Singer Sargent and the Physics of Touch.