From Mourning to Night: John Singer Sargent and Black in Fashion

October 2 - December 14, 2012
Wolcott Gallery

Black in Fashion will consider John Singer Sargent's role in popularizing the color black in America as a choice for high fashion, altering its association from a color chiefly associated with mourning dress, as a signal of sexual experience, or working class wear. These associations waxed and waned throughout the nineteenth-century, and often operated simultaneously. In America, however, black as a choice for high fashion lagged behind its European counterparts. As this exhibition aims to demonstrate, John Singer Sargent played a role in transmitting black as a fashionable color in couture in America through his publicly exhibited portraits, circle of fashion forward clientele, and his own sartorial selections he chose for his sitters.