[JAMES, Henry]. SARGENT, John SingerOriginal silver bromide photographic portrait of John Singer Sargent's celebrated portrait of Henry James, 10 1/2 x 13 inches (image)... Sargent's original portrait of James was commissioned by James's friends to commemorate his 70th birthday in 1913. James would not accept the gift, but agreed to act as its "custodian" on the condition, specified in his will, that it be given to the National Portrait Gallery in London, where it now hangs. A photographic reproduction of the portrait, printed in an edition of 300 copies signed by the subject and artist, was produced for the subscribers. According to James' biographer, Leon Edel, "(James) arranged for all of them to receive a photograph of the Sargent portrait signed on the left by Sargent and on the right by himself. Sargent's name has all but faded from such of these as survive; but James's name, with its customary largeness and boldness, remains visible." - Leon Edel, The Master 1901-1916 (London: Rupert Hart Davis, 1972), p. 490. The signatures in the present example, however, show little sign of fading. James met Sargent in 1883, and the two men became close friends. Edel notes that "They had so much in common that they must have seemed to each other, in certain respects, to be mirror-images." - Edel, The Middle Years 1884-1894, pp. 45-46. James...(more)
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