John Singer Sargent, early 1880s; Private Collection
"Sargent's studio is always a sociable place. Unlike many artists, the presence of visitors or companions does not disturb him when he is painting. He seems to work without obvious exertion even in his intensest activity. "When his models are resting, he fills the gap by strumming on the piano or guitar, " says one of his friends; "his manner while at work is that of a man of consummate address, and does not show physical or mental effort." ...Skill and accomplishment in every field excite his admiration, but his own creed is stable and unaffected by transitory influences."
American painter William A. Coffin on Sargent, 1896. Reprinted from John Singer Sargent, New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1986.