Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

After visiting Spain in 1879, Sargent began a series of works on the subject of the flamenco performance. This lively oil sketch of passionate musicians is among the dozens of studies Sargent produced in preparation for a series of grand multifigure compositions, the largest and most important of which, El Jaleo (1882), is in the collection of Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Thinly painted on buff-colored ground, the study opens insight into Sargent’s process. Apparently working quickly, he executed the figures to varying degrees of finish. Certain details like the white dress of the clapping dancer are emphasized, while other aspects are only cursorily drawn.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
John Singer Sargent, American (Florence, Italy 1856 - 1925 London, England)
Study for Seated Figures for "El Jaleo"
Work Type
c. 1882
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2700, European and American Art, 19th century, Impressionism and the Late Nineteenth Century
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
65.4 x 81.3 cm (25 3/4 x 32 in.)
framed: 80.3 x 96.5 x 7.6 cm (31 5/8 x 38 x 3 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • label: back of canvas, paper, printed and typed: [printed:] Scott & Fowles / 680 Fifth Avenue / (bet. 53rd & 54th Sts.) / New York / Cable Address "Scoles, New York" / [typed:] A study for El Jaleo painted by John S. Sargent / This study was presented by the Painter to his friend Renaudot, the / Paris Sculptor, and was recently disposed of in London by Renaudot's widow 1927
  • label: back of canvas, paper and black ink, printed and handwritten: [printed:] Scott & Fowles / 680 Fifth Ave / New York / No. [handwritten:] 787
Gift of the artist to Jules François Gabriel Renaudot, Paris; to his wife, Mme. Renaudot (at his death?); her sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 1927, lot 82; purchased by David Croal Thomson, London; Scott and Fowles, New York; purchased by Grenville L. Winthrop, New York, 1932 [Winthrop paid $3500]; his bequest to the Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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The Harvard Art Museum owns a number of drawings by Sargent relating to this theme, including 1937.8.2, 1937.8.12 (pen and wash sketches of dancer with seated figures), and 1937.8.22, a version of the figure at center of this composition. The finished painting is at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
Publication History

Evan Charteris, John Sargent, Charles Scribner's Sons (New York, NY, 1927), p. 282

Charles Merrill Mount, John Singer Sargent: A Biography, W. W. Norton & Company (New York, NY, 1955), no. K8223

Richard Ormond, "Sargent's El Jaleo", Fenway Court, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA, 1970), p. 15, repr. p. 16 as fig. 14

Richard Ormond, John Singer Sargent: Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors, Harper & Row (New York, NY and London, England, 1970), p. 238

David Sellin, American Art in the Making: Preparatory Studies for Masterpieces of American Painting, 1800-1900, exh. cat., Smithsonian Institution Press (Washington DC, 1976), p. 66, repr. p. 68 as fig. 100

John Singer Sargent, His Own Work, exh. cat., Coe Kerr Gallery, Inc. (New York, NY, 1980), in checklist, unpaginated

Kate F. Jennings, John Singer Sargent, Crescent Books (New York, NY, 1991), repr. in b/w, p. 9

Mary Crawford Volk, John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1992), catalogue no. 47, p. 186, repr. in color p. 187

Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1874-1882, Yale University Press (New Haven and London, 2006), no. 773, repr.; p. 268, no. 6

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Virginia Anderson, and Kimberly Orcutt, ed., American Paintings at Harvard, Volume Two, Paintings, Drawings, Pastels and Stained Glass by Artists Born 1826-1856, Harvard Art Museums and Yale University Press (U.S.) (Cambridge, MA and New Haven, CT, 2008), p. 298-99, cat. no. 315, reproduced in b&w, p. 299

John Singer Sargent, exh. cat., Nationalmuseum (Stockholm, 2018), repr. p. 14

Exhibition History

For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 10 Rotation 2), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/15/2010 - 11/06/2010

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 11 Rotation 2), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 10/07/2011 - 11/05/2011

32Q: 2700 Impressionism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/14/2017 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

Collection Highlights

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