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The Grand Affair: John Singer Sargent in His World

Written by:
Paul Fisher
Narrated by:
David De Vries

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2023
17 hours 40 minutes
A great American artist, John Singer Sargent is an abiding enigma. He scandalized viewers with the frankness and sensuality of his work, while dressing like a businessman and crafting a highly respectable persona. He charmed the possessors of new money and old, while reserving his greatest sympathies for Bedouins, Spanish dancers, and the gondoliers of Venice. At the height of his renown in Britain and America, he quit his lucrative portrait-painting career to concentrate on allegorical murals with religious themes-and on nude drawings of male models that he kept to himself.

In The Grand Affair, scholar Paul Fisher offers a vivid life of the artist and his work. Sargent's nervy, edgy portraits exposed illicit or dark feelings in himself and his sitters-feelings that London, Paris, and New York high society was fascinated by yet kept at bay. Fisher traces Singer's life from his wandering trans-European childhood to the salons of Paris, and the scandals and enthusiasms he elicited, and on to London, where he mixed with other aristocrats and eccentrics, and formed a close relationship with a boxer who became his model, valet, and traveling partner.

Relating Sargent's restless itinerary, Fisher explores the enigmas of fin de siecle sexuality and art, fashioning a biography that grants the man and his paintings new and intense life.
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