John Singer Sargent, ‘Theodore Roosevelt’, 1903, White House Historical Association

This portrait of Theodore Roosevelt was painted by renowned artist John Singer Sargent in 1903. Architect Charles McKim, who oversaw major renovations to the White House occurring at the time, invited Sargent to paint Roosevelt's portrait. Though the artist later complained that Roosevelt would agree to only short sittings, the president was very pleased with the end result. On February 19 he wrote in a letter to his son Kermit, noting that "This afternoon I had my last sitting with Mr. Sargent. I like his picture enormously." A former governor of New York, Roosevelt became president upon the assassination of William McKinley, on September 14, 1901 and served until March 4, 1909.

Image rights: White House Collection/White House Historical Association

U. S. government purchase

About John Singer Sargent

A popular society portraitist and landscape painter, John Singer Sargent was born in Florence to wealthy American parents. He studied painting in France, where he enjoyed both critical acclaim and important patronage. Although he spent most of his time in Europe, he frequently accepted commissions from collectors in the United States. Whether rendered in oil, watercolor, or charcoal, Sargent’s works are characterized by naturalism, lively mark-making, and a sense of immediacy. Influenced by his friendship with Claude Monet, Sargent loved working en plein air, depicting the various places he traveled, including Italy, rural England, Giverny, the Mediterranean, northern Africa, and the Alps. During his later years, Sargent completed several mural projects, as well as working as an artist-correspondent during World War I.

American, 1856-1925, Florence, Italy, based in Paris, France and London, United Kingdom