Which of these two images is the real Madame X painted by John Sargent?
As I learned yesterday at Lisa’a History Room, they both are. Sort of.
If you though the one on the left was the Sargent’s Madame X, congratulations–you’ve been to the Met, where that version of the painting is hanging. The image on the right was made to represent Sargent’s original Madame. Sargent first painted the infamous Madame X with one strap dangling off her shoulder. The outcry in France over the fallen strap was such that Madame X’s mother demanded Sargent remove it from the salon. To appease the public, Sargent painted this second version with both straps firmly in place. The whole risque fiasco ended with Sergent moving to England because of the disapproval of Parisian society.
Who knew there was such a story in a little strap?