John Singer Sargent is born on January 12 in Florence to American parents, Dr. Fitzwilliam Sargent (1820-89) and Mary Newbold Singer Sargent (1826-1906). They left Philadelphia in 1854 and now spend the summer in Geneva and winter in Rome. (First child, Mary Newbold, born May 1851, died July 1853.)
Emily Sargent is born in Rome on January 27. While in Rome in autumn of 1860, she has an accident which leaves her spine deformed.
Sargent's first known drawing, depicting his father writing a letter, is enclosed in a letter from Fitzwilliam to his father Winthrop Sargent.
Mary Winthrop is born on February 1 to the Sargents. (She dies on April 18, 1865.)
Sargents' second son, Fitzwilliam Winthrop, is born on March 7 in Nice. (He dies on June 28, 1869.) The family visits Paris, the Rhine, Munich, the Tyrol, Salzburg, Milan and Genoa during the summer, returning to Nice in October.
John temporarily attends a school run by an English clergyman and wife in Nice.
While the family is in Rome in November, John helps in the studio of Carl Welsch (b. 1828), a German-American landscape artist. He has a chance to copy some watercolours in the studio.
Sargent does some copy work at the Bargello while the family travels to St. Moritz in July and Florence in October.
Violet Sargent is born in Florence on February 9. Meanwhile John attends M. Joseph Domenge's day school located n the former Convent I Servi di Maria in the Piazza della SS Annunziata. He also takes dancing lessons.
While in Switzerland from June to October, John draws a number of Alpine watercolours.
The family moves to Dresden in November, where Sargent studies Latin, Greek, German, mathematics, geography, and history in preparation for the entrance exam to Das Gymnasium zum Heilige Kreuz. He also does some copy work in the Albertina. His studies are interrupted in the spring, and the family travels in Germany, returning to Florence in September.
In October, John enrolls in the Accademia delle Belle Arti, Florence where he meets American artists Walter Launt Palmer, Edwin White, Frank Fowler and English artists Edward Clifford and Heath Wilson. The school closes in December, and reopens in March of 1874.
Emily and John Sargent spend ten days with Vernon Lee in Bologna, discussing art and aesthetics.
In a letter to Mrs. Austin, dated March 22, John expresses his admiration for the artists Titian, Tintoretto and Michelangelo, as well as his dissatisfaction with the Accademia.
Instead of going to Venice for the summer, the family comes to Paris on May 16. Subsequently Sargent is enrolled in Carolus-Duran's atelier on May 30. On July 3 the atelier closes for the summer.
In September Sargent prepares for the concours des places at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. He passes the exams on October 27 and is placed 37th out of 162 entrants.
Meets American artist Julian Alden Weir and begins to work in the studio of another American artist, James Carroll Beckwith. His fellow students are Stephen Parker Hills and Robert C. Hinckley.
Sargent sails to America with his mother and sister Emily. He visits the Centennial exhibition in Philadelphia and paints his aunt, Mrs. Emily Sargent Pleasants and Admiral Case's son-in-law, Charles Deering in Newport.
Sargent passes the concours for the second time on March 16, and matriculates at the Ecole as the 39th entrant. He continues to work at Beckwith studio and at the Carolus-Duran's atelier.
Possible meeting with Monet at Durand-Ruel's gallery in April.
Upon his return to the Ecole in November 1876, Sargent once again passes the concours in March and is placed 2nd. This is the highest place yet awarded to an American and the first time Carolus-Duran's student is so highly rated.
In March he completes "Fanny Watts" which is exhibited at the Salon in May. In 1878 the portrait is also exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. According to Emily, Sargent receives a third class medal for ornament drawing.
In October, Sargent and Beckwith work with Carolus-Duran on the ceiling decoration for the Palais du Luxemberg. Carolus-Duran's Luxemberg ceiling mural is later exhibited at the Salon.
Sargent is elected as a juryman for the new Association of American Artists, founded in June 1877 and later renamed Society of American Artists.
Exhibits "Fishing for Oysters at Cancale" at the first Society of American Artists exhibition in New York. The work is purchased by artist Samuel Coleman for $200.
Sargent's portrait of Carolus-Duran receives an Honourable Mention, while on view at the Salon along with "Dans les oliviers a Capri".
Exhibits "A Capriote" at the Society of American Artists and "Neapolitan Children Bathing" at the National Academy of Design, both in New York.
Registers to copy works by Velazquez at the Prado in October.
"Madame Edouard Pailleron", painted in Ronjoux in August 1879, and "Fumee d'ambre gris", which sells for 3,000 francs, are exhibited at the Salon in May.
Copies paintings by Frans Hals while in Haarlem, Holland in August.
Exhibits a profile of Capri girl and a small portrait of Edward Burckhardt at the Society of American Artists, New York, March-April.
Exhibits "The Pailleron Children", "Madame Ramon Subercaseaux" and two watercolours at the Salon in May. Recieves a second class medal.
Sargent and Vernon Lee visit Burne-Jones in his Fulham studio.
"El Jaleo" and "Lady with the Rose" are exhibited at the Salon in May, while "Dr. Pozzi" is shown at the Royal Academy". "El Jaleo" is shown later in the year in New York and Boston.
Works on "Madame X" and "Mrs. Henry White". He exhibits works at the Fine Art Society, London, Society of American Artists, NY, and the Salon.
Sargent buys Manet's oil study for "Le Balcon" for 580 francs and a watercolour of irises at a Manet sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris.
"Dr. Pozzi" is exhibited at Les XX, Brussels in February.
Sargent meets Henry James in Paris, who within months takes a series interest in the artist's career. They attend Sir Joshua Reynolds exhibition at the Grosvenor Gallery and visit the studios of Frederic Leighton and John Everett Millais in March.
On April 3, Sargent and James attend a party given by Edwin Austin Abbey and Alfred Parsons for the American actor Lawrence Barrett. Other guests include Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Millais, Leighton and George du Maurier.
In May "Madame X" is shown at the Salon and "Mrs. Henry White" at the Royal Academy.
On June 7, Sargent gives a lunch in Paris attended by Paul Bourget as well as Oscar Wilde and his new wife.
Galerie Georges Petit exhibition opens on May 15, where Sargent's three portraits and "Le Verre de porto" are exhibited alongside ten works by Monet.
In the summer, probably visits Monet at Giverny, where he paints "Claude Monet, painting, by the edge of a wood".
While on a Thames boating tour with Edwin Austin Abbey in August, Sargent has a swimming accident at Pangbourne Weir.
Elected member of the selection committee for the Society of American Artists.
Sargent decides to settle permanently in London. In early summer, he packs the Paris studio and makes the move.
On June 26, Sargent arrives in Broadway, staying with Abbey and the Millets. He moves between London and Broadway in autumn.
"Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose", which is purchased by the Chantrey Bequest for 700 pounds and "Mrs. William Playfair" are on view at the Royal Academy in May.
Upon returning to London in June, Sargent signs a three year lease for his studio in Tite Street.
After visiting Monet in Giverny in the summer, Sargent begins to actively acquire paintings by Monet, including "Bennecourt", purchased for 2000 francs and later "Vagues a la Manneporte".
Sails to Boston on September 17 to paint a portrait of Mrs. Marquand of Newport, a commission probably received due to Alma-Tadema's recommendation.
Harper's Magazine publishes Henry James' influential essay on Sargent in October.
First solo exhibition is held at the St Botolph Club, Boston. It is remarkably successful and 2 of its 22 works, "Mrs Henry Marquand" and "Mrs Edward Darley Boit", are sent to the Royal Academy exhibition.
Sargent hosts a dinner in New York in April for over thirty fellow artists.
In the spring, his works are on view at the Salon, the New Gallery, London, the Royal Academy, the Society of American Artists, and the National Academy of Design, New York.
Sargent and Monet are involved in securing contributions for the subscription to purchase Manet's "Olympia" for the French National Museums, with Sargent himself contributing 1,000 francs.
Sargent has six paintings in the American section of the Exposition Universelle, Paris and is awarded a grand prix. He is also made the Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur.
After serious illness the previous year, Fitzwilliam Sargent dies on April 25 in Bournemouth.
On December 4, Sargent sails with sister Violet to New York. She stays with the Fairchilds in Boston, while Sargent receives a $3,000 portrait commission, which Beckwith was hoping for.
Society of American Artists spring annual exhibition in May, includes seven works, with "La Carmencita" displayed in the place of honour. The exhibition attracts significant critical attention and is a landmark New York show for Sargent.
Sargent has a farewell lunch with the Bunkers and the Beckwiths in New York on November 4. He sails for Liverpool the next day.
Awarded a Gold Medal for the portrait of Homer Saint-Gaudens and his mother at the Philadelphia Art Club exhibition.
While Sargent and Austin Abbey are in Boston in May, they are offered a commission for the new Boston Public Library designed by McKim, Mead & White architectural firm. The mural commission is confirmed in October and subsequently signed in January of 1893.
Travels in Upper Egypt during the winter and takes a studio in Cairo where he paints a full-length nude of an Egyptian girl, "Nude Egyptian Girl" in March.
Sargent's travels in Greece and Turkey inspire a change in subject for the Boston Public Library murals. It will become "The History of Religion."
Sister Violet marries Louis Francis Ormond in Paris on August 17.
Portrait of Beatrice Goelet is displayed at the place of honour at the Society of American Artists annual exhibition in New York.
Elected Associate of the National Academy of Design, New York.
May exhibition at the Societe nationale des beaux-arts, Paris includes the study of a nude Egyptian girl painted in Cairo and "La Carmencita" which is purchased by the French government for 1,200 francs and hung in the Palais du Luxembourg in July.
In December, Sargent and the Gardners dine with Whistler in Paris.
A formal contract for the Boston Public Library murals is signed which obligates Sargent to complete work on the north and south ends of the Special Collections Hall by December 30, 1897. He will receive $15,000 for the commission.
By winter Sargent completes the lunette of "The Children of Israel Beneath the Yoke of their Oppressors" for the Boston Public Library.
Elected an Associate of the Royal Academy.
Meets future biographer, Evan Charteris, at a party given by Mrs. Henry White at Loseley Park, Surrey.
On April 12, Sargent arrives in Boston for the installation of the first section of the library murals, at the north end of the Special Collections Hall.
The unveiling of Sargent's and Abbey's murals at the Boston Public Library is held on April 25. McKim, Mead & White host a lavish grand reception for the artists which is attended by over two hundred guests. Sargent is formally asked to continue the mural. Edward Robinson organizes a subscription of $15,000 to pay for the project.
While in Madrid in July, Sargent registers as a copyist at the Prado to study the works of El Greco, Titian and Tintoretto.
In December, the expansion of the Boston mural commission is made official. A fund set up by private subscription mainly from Boston citizens has secured the money for the project.
Sargent shows great interest in Whistler's "Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room" (1876-77), originally designed for the London home of F.R. Leyland. He hopes that it might be installed as a committee room at the Boston Public Library or in one of Mrs Gardner's houses.
In February, receives a commission from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York to paint Henry G. Marquand.
Elected as a full member of the Royal Academy, London and the National Academy of Design, New York.
Sargent visits Italy over the winter to research ideas for the Boston Public Library murals. He makes studies in a cathedral at Palermo and visits the Borgia Apartment in the Vatican with Pinturicchio's decorations.
He is made an Officier of the French Legion d'honneur.
The demand for portrait sitting is very high and the artist increases his fee to 1,000 guines for a full-length image.
Second solo exhibition is held at Copley Hall (Boston Art Student's Association). It includes fifty-three oil paintings, sixteen drawings and forty-one sketches, some of which are contributed from Sargent's own collection.
"An Interior in Venice" is accepted as the official Royal Academy diploma picture in December.
Sargent declines an invitation to design a mosaic decoration for a chapel in Westminster Cathedral suggested by Cardinal Vaughn. It was recommanded to the Cardinal by John Francis Bentley, the architect of the cathedral.
The Royal Academy exhibits five portraits including the Wyndham sisters in May. At the Royal Academy banquet, the Prince of Wales dubs the portrait 'The Three Graces'.
Contributes three paintings to the Exposition Universalle, Paris and receives a medal of honour.
Monet and Sargent attend an Impressionist exhibition at the Hanover Gallery, London organized by Durand-Ruel which includes works by Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro and nine works by Monet himself.
Edwin Austin Abbey receives a commission declined by Sargent to paint the Coronation of King Edward VII.
In January returns to Boston to hang the second installment of the Boston Public Library mural cycle. Sargent arranges a private viewing of the mural for Stanford White, Daniel Chester French, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Isabella Stewart Gardner and Mr. and Mrs. Edward Robinson. The installation opens to the public sometime in March-April.
Arrives in Washington, D.C. in February. Paints a three-quarter-length portrait of President Roosevelt and a head-and-shoulders study of John Hay.
First London solo exhibition, held at Carfax & Co., the gallery purchased by Robert Ross in 1900. Thirty works are on display, including four oils, and a sketch of Joseph Jefferson. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, titled, 'A Loan Exhibition of Sketches and Studies.' Roger Fry criticizes the landscapes and the subject pictures in an unsigned review for the Athenaeum.
Awarded the Gold Medal for the portrait of Leon Delafosse at the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung exhibition, Berlin.
A book of photogravures, "The Work of John S. Sargent, R.A.", by Alice Meynell is published in London and New York. It is subsequently criticizes by French writer and aesthete Comte Robert de Montesquiou. He regards the thick, red-bound volume as a pompous exercise, and expresses a distaste for what he considers Sargent's gratuitous virtuosity. He however designates the portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau as the exception in the artist's oeuvre, and the highest expression of talent at the beginning of his career.
Receives honorary degree from the University of Oxford.
A loan exhibition of watercolours at Carfax & Co. includes the portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau, listed as 'Portrait of Madame X". It is the first time the painting has been exhibited since the Salon.
In May, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston purchases "An Artist in his Studio" for $1000. It is the first non-portrait work to be acquired by an American museum.
Travels to Syria and Palestine in November to research ideas for the Boston Public Library murals, producing more than a dozen oils and over forty watercolors.
Sargent's mother, Mary Newbold Singer Sargent dies on January 21.
Awarded the Berlin order Pour le merite. He eventually acts to return it in 1915, and does so formally in October 1919.
Awarded the Order of Merit from France and the Order of Leopold from Belgium.
The Brooklyn Museum purchases eighty-three watercolors for $20,000 which were exhibited at Knoedler's, New York.
"Manet and the Post-Impressionists" goes on view in November at the Grafton Gallery, London. Sargent disagrees with Roger Fry for including his name in the list of supporters of the Post-Impressionists published in the 'Nation' article.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, purchases "Padre Sebastiano" and "The Hermit" directly from the artist.
Receives an honorary degree from Cambridge University.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, purchases "Spanish Fountain", its first Sargent watercolor.
The Met purchases the portrait of Madame Gautrau for 1,000 pounds.
In May, begins mural installation at the Boston Public Library, which is completed by October. He also accepts a commission to decorate the rotunda of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Awarded honorary degrees from Yale and Harvard.
Niece, Rose-Marie, is killed on March 29 when a bomb hits the church, Saint-Gervais, Paris where she was attending a concert.
Back in London in June, negotiates with Lord Beaverbrook and the Ministry of Information about becoming a war artist. Sargent leaves for the Western front with Henry Tonks as an official war artist. After witnessing soldiers blinded by mustard gas, paints "Gassed". The painting is later delivered to the Imperial War Commission.
The religiously symbolic murals "The Synagogoe" and "The Church" at the Special Collections Halls, Boston Public Library, stir up controversy in Boson.
The Boston museum rotunda decorations are completed and installed by October.
Two memorial panels, "Soldiers of the Nation Marching to War" and "The Conflict between Death and Victory", dedicated to the Harvard men who fought and died in the First World War are unveiled in the Widener Memorial Library, Harvard University on November 1.
Nine Wertheimer portraits are installed at the National Gallery, London. Roger Fry commends their 'profound historical interest', but denies their artistic significance.
A retrospective exhibition including thirty-eight portraits and thirty-four subject pictures, opens at the Grand Central Art Galleries, New York on February 23. Sargent helped organize the loan, but doesn't attend the actual opening.
After dining with his sisters, Emily and Violet, at Emily's flat in Chelsea, Sargent dies in his sleep at age sixty-nine on April 15.
A sale of artwork from Sargent's studio, comprising 237 oils and watercolors by Sargent and about a hundred works by other artists, is held at Christie's, London. The sale which takes place on July 24 and 27, realizes 176,366 pounds.
The first memorial exhibition is held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston including 143 oils and 113 watercolors.
Memorial exhibitions are held concurrently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Royal Academy, London. The latter includes over six hundred works.