The MFA holds the world’s most complete collection of works by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925)—paintings, murals, watercolors, drawings, sculpture, and the correspondence and photographs that form The John Singer Sargent Archive. Some of his most famous paintings are on display in the gallery, including the renowned Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882), placed alongside the same Japanese vessels that are depicted in the moody and enigmatic work.
John Singer Sargent was acclaimed as a portraitist on both sides of the Atlantic, praised for his exceptional skill with a paintbrush, for his penetrating grasp of character, and for the connections to art history he claimed for his sitters. He was equally talented at rendering figures in the landscape and in scenes of everyday life. Born in Italy to American parents, trained in Paris, resident of London, and a perpetual traveler, Sargent maintained a constant relationship to New England; if any city in America was his home, it was Boston.