An Artist in His Studio, John Singer Sargent
Many, if not most paintings are not named by the artist, but by subsequent buyers, sellers or scholars. If Sargent named this one (and I have to think he did), it was with tongue firmly in cheek.
Sargent painted his friend, Italian painter Ambrogio Raffele, on a vacation in the Alps; the “artist’s studio” is clearly a corner of a cramped hotel room, a desk corner and part of the bed serving as his easel.
The bravura brushwork which which Sargent is praised (or damned, if the speaker is a modernist looking down on the “facile” skills of 19th century painters), is clearly in evidence here, though more casually and briefly applied than in his more formal work.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this painting in person, and it’s just a wonder and a treat. The handling of the bedsheets should be in the dictionary as the definition of “painterly”.
This was obviously painted for Sargent’s own pleasure, like an Olympic-level runner going for a morning run just to enjoy a beautiful spring day.