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Art & Design

John Singer Sargent, Portrait of Manuel García, 1905, Museum Appropriation Fund

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John Singer Sargent

Portrait of Manuel García

John Singer Sargent
American, 1856-1925
Portrait of Manuel García
Oil on canvas
138.1 x 97.2 cm (54 3/8 x 38 1/4 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.

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