Nonchaloir (Repose), 1911
John Singer Sargent
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, Gift of Curt H. Reisinger
oil on canvas
By the time John Singer Sargent painted this unconventional portrayal of his niece, he was internationally famous and in constant demand. It was in the summer, when he was on vacation and traveling with family and close friends that he could indulge in more informal portraiture. He was especially fond of his niece, Rosa-Marie Ormond. In this work, she projects a mood of elegant reverie. The title might also describe the ease with which she’s painted, with Sargent’s brilliant brushwork suggesting the softness of her patterned cashmere shawl and her taffeta skirt.