american portraitists

Lady Helen Vincent, Viscountess d’Abernon
John Singer Sargent (American; 1856–1925)
Oil on canvas
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama


Margaret Bowland (b.1953)

“Beauty makes sense to me, has weight for me, only when it falls from grace. It starts to matter when it carries damage. Sorrow allows it to cast a shadow. It becomes three-dimensional. It enters our world.”

Margaret Bowland’s spellbinding and psychologically charged work brings viewers face to face with contentious culture while affirming the resilience and triumph of the human spirit. A masterful observer of life’s unpredictable nature, her work conveys universal themes through unusually specific insights. Bowland’s work explores the subtle and nuanced edges between strength and vulnerability, certainty and doubt, faith and disbelief. Bowland’s probing and deeply personal images call into question our societal expectations of gender, race, and beauty.

© All images courtesy of the artist ; artist portrait by Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily

[more Margaret Bowland | artist recommended by by blackonwhiteorwhiteonblack]

Thomas Sully (American, born England; 1783–1872)
Oil on canvas
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Portrait of Gabriel Fauré
John Singer Sargent (American; 1856–1925)
ca. 1889
Oil on canvas
Musée de la musique, Paris

Inscribed along the top of the canvas by the artist: “à Gabriel Fauré souvenir affectueux John S. Sargent.”


“For the portfolio of 20 Hollywood brand names, Graydon Carter invited as our guest artist the world-renowned American portraitist Chuck Close, who for five decades has been depicting his friends and heroes, most notably through his photo-realistic style in oil paintings.

For the portfolio, he chose to work exclusively with a rare and impressive 20-by-24-inch Polaroid camera. ”