John Singer Sargent
Portrait of Manuel García
John Singer Sargent, American, Portrait of Manuel García, 1905, Oil on canvas; 138.1 x 97.2 cm (54 3/8 x 38 5/16 inches), Museum Appropriation Fund 19.141
Manuel García (1805 - 1906) was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and the voice coach of legendary opera singers such as Jenny Lind. He was renowned for a treatise on the human voice and for the invention of a medical device for the examination of the vocal cords. On the occasion of García’s approaching 100th birthday, Sargent was commissioned to paint his portrait. Limiting his palette to dark and light tones, Sargent contrasted García’s luminous head and hands with the severe elegance of his black clothing.This portrait of a centenarian acknowledged García’s diminished physical presence while celebrating his enduring intellectual strength.