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Lot #450
John Singer Sargent Autograph Letter Signed

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Estimate: $200+
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ALS signed “John S. Sargent,” one page both sides, 4.5 x 7.25, no date. Handwritten letter, in part: “I do not know whether my portrait of Edwin Booth was ever photographed…so that I cannot help you in your desire to include it in your memoir of the Players Club. The picture is the property of the Club so that I have no say in the matter; but I appreciate your courtesy." In fine condition, with writing showing through from opposing sides. Renowned Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth (1833-1893) founded the Players Club in New York as a meeting place for actors and other professions. He also carried the burden of being the brother of John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Lincoln in 1865. In 1889, the members commissioned Sargent to paint a portrait of their founder for the club. Booth stands before the marble fireplace in the club’s great hall. The unusually wide format creates a stage-like space even though the actor is not shown in character. After the second sitting, Booth was disappointed with the likeness. When Sargent heard this, he painted out the head 'and a new picture was begun.' Sargent’s portrayal reveals Booth’s complexity: his expression seems tragic and haunted, while his pose conveys a masterful self-confidence.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Presidents
  • Dates: #658 - Ended February 08, 2023

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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