John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)
oil on canvas, Framed - h:249.00 w:134.00 d:9.50 cm (h:98 w:52 3/4 d:3 11/16 inches)
Unframed - h:219.30 w:104.80 cm (h:86 5/16 w:41 1/4 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1998.168
One of the most sought-after painters of his era, Sargent achieved considerable critical and financial success portraying cosmopolitan members of high society on both sides of the Atlantic. Here, the artist depicts an acquaintance-an heir to the Colt firearms fortune-who had recently married his distant cousin Ralph. In her portrait, Curtis wears an elegant satin dress and poses as if she were welcoming guests into her palatial Venetian home. The painting apparently was a wedding gift to the couple by the artist; its inscription at the top right reads, "To Ralph and Mrs. Ralph, John S. Sargent 1898."