Her insatiable appetite for society

John Singer Sargent, Elsie Meyer, 1908. Charcoal on paper.

Elsie Meyer (1885-1954), seen as a child in Sargent’s group portrait, became a fashionable young woman. In a 1903 letter to her brother Frank, her mother* described her ”insatiable appetite for society”, her gowns from Worth and Doucet in Paris, and the lavish preparations for her society debut. A few years later, Sargent depicted her in a simple cotton blouse.

*Lady Meyer demonstrated excellence in social skills herself: a society hostess known for her exuberant soirées, enchanting voice and support of the arts, but also a socially concerned philanthropist supporting working class women, underprivileged families, and women’s suffrage.

(Notes from The Jewish Museum’s website)

January 8th, 2017

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