Elizabeth Winthrop Chanler (1893). John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). Oil. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
“Bessie” Chanler’s determination and strength of character emerge forcefully in Sargent’s remarkable portrait. Wealth and social position did not shield her from tragedy. Yet she prevailed and eventually married John Jay Chapman, a family friend. Sargent greatly admired his subject, observing that she possessed “the face of the Madonna and the eyes of the Child.”