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In this seductive, multilayered biography, based on original letters and diaries, Donna M. Lucey illuminates four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny intuition, Sargent hinted at the mysteries and passions that unfolded in his subjects’ lives. These women inhabited a rarefied world of wealth and strict conventions–yet all of them did something unexpected, something shocking, to upend society’s rules.

Lucey upends our assumption that elite women of the Gilded Age were confined to a limited domestic sphere. The four women she profiles were rule-breakers and worldly sophisticates who powered through extreme challenges imposed by family, social norms, and illness. Each was painted by Sargent, but Lucey’s narrative portraits upstage even his brilliant renderings, revealing four not-to-be-denied women of strength and determination.–Elizabeth Broun, former director, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery

Additional information

Weight 9.6 oz
Dimensions 8.2 × 5.5 × 0.9 in
Author(s)Donna M. Lucey
Publisher(s)W.W Norton & Company
Year of Publication2018