Sargentology: New Perspectives on the Works of John Singer Sargent

28-29 April 2016, King’s Manor, University of York

*CFP: Extended Deadline for Abstracts*: 7 December 2015

With this conference, we wish to resurrect and redefine a new state of ‘Sargentology’, one defined by innovation, creativity and enthusiasm.  To cultivate a sense of what Sargent’s art means for contemporary art historical practice, we welcome any and all submissions that approach Sargent through new and exploratory avenues. This can come through the examination of a new or little explored aspect of his oeuvre, or a new perspective on a familiar image or collection of works.  However, this scholarship does not necessarily need to be image focused. Although Sargent was an artist, he was also well entrenched in the social, theatrical and literary worlds around him.  His friends and colleagues included famous (and infamous) authors, aristocrats and actresses, while he also provided patronage and support to a large number of notable collections, exhibitions and galleries. We welcome anything that seeks to shed new light on any aspects of these areas of his life, along with Sargent’s love of music, world travel and literature, with or without its corresponding effect on his paintings.

Topics we would wish to see, but are not limited to considering, include:

Sargent’s relationship with other artists and artistic movements

Sargent’s relationships with women – this can include sitters and patrons, but also authors, painters, actresses or major and minor social figures

Sargent and literature, authors or literary movements

Sargent and music or musical movements

Sargent’s maritime paintings

Sargent’s murals or public monuments

Nationality and identity, or lack thereof, in exploring his cosmopolitanism

Sargent’s landscapes, watercolours and charcoals

Sargent in war – any aspect of his brief period as a war artist, the execution of Gassed or any of his military portraits, or the impact such an experience as the Great War had on him or his art

Sargent as an art collector and connoisseur, including his involvement in the acquisition of paintings for major collections or his donations to major museums

Sargent’s Orientalist/Exoticist Images – this can include images he executed of those considered ‘oriental’ or ‘other’, including his Jewish sitters

Sargent’s images of children and childhood

Sargent and fashion/costume

Sargent and gender

Sargent’s reception –  his exhibition venues, any aspects of his criticism, the prejudice to his reputation post 1925, as well as his reception outside Britain, France and the United States, general analysis of any Sargent exhibitions throughout history

Sargent’s symbolism and allusion (or lack thereof), or any alternate methods of visual ‘reading’

Sargent and the Old Masters such as, but not limited to, Velazquez, Hals, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Lawrence

Sargent’s depiction of hands

Sargent in pop culture – the use of his art in advertisements, fashion photography, celebrity culture, or imagery and magazines in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries

Sargent and the queer, homosocial or homosexual

Sargent in France – his relationship with major and minor French artists, gallery owners and authors

Review of any major or minor Sargent books and biographies, especially in light of how they have aided or hindered the longevity of Sargent’s reputation

In addition to abstracts, we are open to proposals for group presentations or curated panels.  If you have any questions, please see our website for further information at  You can also like us on Facebook at, or contact Liz Renes or Emily Moore at