Born to expatriate American parents in Florence, Sargent began his formal training in Rome in the late 1860s. His studies took him to Florence in the early 1870s and to Paris by the mid-1870s. By the turn of the century, he was the leading portrait artist on the Continent and in great demand among the elite. The sitter of this rather loosely painted sketch of a man reading is most likely Nicola d’Inverno, the artist’s manservant who was in his service from the 1890s through 1917. The painting may have been painted at the inn at Purtud in the Italian Alps, where Sargent and his friends spent several summers between 1904 and 1908.
man readingoil on canvas