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Dazzling but it’s all show: Tate Britain’s Sargent and Fashion reviewed

2 March 2024

9:00 AM

2 March 2024

9:00 AM

Sargent and Fashion

Tate Britain, until 7 July

Madame Ramon Subercaseaux, the beautiful wife of a Chilean diplomat, was not a Parisienne. So when the 25-year-old John Singer Sargent’s portrait of her in a black and white ensemble straight out of the Renoir playbook won a second-class medal at the 1881 Paris Salon, French pride was wounded. Édouard Pailleron, father of the purebred French children in Sargent’s other Salon submission, kicked up a fuss and had to be placated with another medal.

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