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Hostesses, Circumnavigators, Watercolorists, and Exotic Dancers: How Nineteenth-Century Women’s Culture Made John Singer Sargent

Faculty Lecture

A Class of 1971 Special 50th Reunion Event


Sunday, April 11, 2021

3-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time


Hostesses, Circumnavigators, Watercolorists, and Exotic Dancers: 

How Nineteenth-Century Women’s Culture Made John Singer Sargent


By Professor Paul Fisher

Wellesley College 


Earlier generations of art historians noticed how complex and remarkable John Singer Sargent’s portraits of women tend to be.  But are these “Sargent’s women,” or do the women in the portraits actually manifest the momentous changes in women’s roles that took place during Sargent’s lifetime? This talk explores Sargent’s rich depictions of women and the many ways in which his work owes a great debt to nineteenth-century women’s culture.

Professor Paul Fisher of Wellesley College

Paul Fisher is a cultural historian and biographer and is currently Professor and Chair of American Studies at Wellesley College. He has also taught at Yale, Wesleyan, Boston University, and Harvard. At Wellesley he teaches courses that combine literature, history, and art history. His books include Artful Itineraries: European Art and American Careers in High Culture, 1865-1920 (2000), House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family (2008), and The Grand Affair: John Singer Sargent, His Patrons and Models (forthcoming in winter 2021-22).


Zoom Webinar Information to come in Mid-March!

Questions?  Contact Betsy Bowman ’71