John Singer Sargent is known as the greatest portrait artist of his era. What made his 'swagger' portraits remarkable was his power over his sitters, what they wore and how they were presented to the audience. Through interviews with curators, contemporary fashionistas and style influencers, Exhibition on Screen's film will examine how Sargent's unique practice has influenced modern art, culture and fashion. Filmed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Tate Britain, London, the exhibition reveals Sargent's power to express distinctive personalities, power dynamics and gender identities during this fascinating period of cultural reinvention. Alongside 50 paintings by Sargent sit stunning items of clothing and accessories worn by his subjects, drawing the audience into the artist's studio. Sargent's sitters were often wealthy, their clothes costly, but what happens when you turn yourself over to the hands of a great artist? The manufacture of public identity is as controversial and contested today as it was at the turn of the 20th century, but somehow Sargent's work transcends the social noise and captures an alluring truth with each brush stroke.
Director: David Bickerstaff