Published on the occasion of a major Sargent retrospective in 1999 traveling to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, "John Singer Sargent: The Male Nudes" reveals a fascinatingly erotic portion of the artist's work long hidden from the public eye.
Beginning in his adolescence and continuing throughout his distinguished career, Sargent, the celebrated painter of the elegant patrician class, produced a brilliantly executed, powerful, and uninhibited body of work that was rarely seen and never exhibited because of its shocking content: The male nude. In Sargent's era, these images were considered little more than pornography, but despite this stigma, he persisted in sketching and painting male models (one of whom stayed in the artist's employ for nearly 26 years). Sargent was determined to capture "the human form divine."
Over the last century, these little known works have dispersed into collections around the world. In this volume, John Esten reveals the most extraordinary of these works, ranging from vibrant watercolors to unfinished charcoal sketches, as they are published for the first time together.