The year 1907 was a turning point for John Singer Sargent, as he daringly stepped away from his successful career as a portraitist in favor of plein air painting. This strong and lively work aptly captures that moment of transition, combining landscape and portraiture in a composition that speaks to friendship and painterly pursuits while also celebrating color, surface, and fleeting effects of light and movement. The couple is Wilfrid and Jane Emmet de Glehn, professional artists and Sargent’s frequent traveling companions. Although The Fountain has the appearance of spontaneity, Sargent was frequently interrupted by rain as he worked. He thus completed it over several days, requiring his friends to pose at length.
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Giselle D’Unger, “The Chicago Beautiful—Woman and Art The Vital Forces,” Fine Arts Journal 30 (Jan–June 1914): 302, ill.
“Gifts of the Friends,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 7 (Apr. 1914): 158, ill.
General Catalogue of Paintings, Sculpture and Other Objects in the Museum (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1914), 158, ill.
The Art Institute of Chicago Handbook of Paintings and Drawings (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1920), 45.
Rose V.S. Berry, “John Singer Sargent: Some of His American Work,” Art and Archaeology 18 (Sept. 1924): 99 (ill.), 100.
William Howe Downes, John S. Sargent: His Life and Work (Boston, 1925), 62, 227, ill. f. p. 272.
A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1925), 152.
A Guide to the Paintings in the Permanent Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1932), 170.
Charles Merrill Mount, John Singer Sargent: A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton, 1955), 449.
Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), 411.
Richard Ormond, John Singer Sargent: Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), 75.
Tom Armstrong, “The New Field–McCormick Galleries in the Art Institute of Chicago,” Magazine Antiques 134, 4 (Oct. 1988): 822–835, pl. 19, 835 (ill.).
Holland Cotter, “Artists From the New World in Love,” New York Times (Sunday, Nov. 1, 1992).
James N. Wood and Teri J. Edelstein, The Art Institute of Chicago: Twentieth–Century Painting and Sculpture (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Hudson Hills Press, 1996), 15.
Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1998).
Judith A. Barter et al., The Age of American Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2011), no. 39.
Lance Mayer et al., “American Painters on Technique: 1860–1945” (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum/Getty Publications, 2013), cover (ill.).
Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago: Highlights of the Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2017), p. 89.
Judith H. Dobrzynski, “Dazzling Art With a City Connection,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 13, 2018, A13 (ill.).
Art Institute of Chicago, Twenty–fifth Annual Exhibition of American Oil Paintings and Sculpture, Nov. 5–Dec. 8, 1912, cat. 228.
New York, Grand Central Art Galleries, Retrospective Exhibition of Important Works of John Singer Sargent, Feb. 23–Mar. 22, 1924, cat. 48.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Memorial Exhibition of the Work of John Singer Sargent, Jan. 4–Feb. 14, 1926, cat. 50.
State Fair of Texas, Art Department, 1933 Exhibition Showing the Changes in Painting for the Last Hundred Years in Europe and America, 1933, cat. 76.
Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress, June 1–Nov. 1, 1934, cat. 407.
Indiana, South Bend Art Association, American Painting in the Manner of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, Feb. 10–Mar. 31, 1948, cat. 46.
Art Institute of Chicago, Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt, Jan. 14–Feb. 25, 1954; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mar. 25–May 23, 1954.
Grand Rapids Art Museum, MI, Cassatt, Whistler, Sargent Exhibition, Sept. 15–Oct. 15, 1955, cat. 27.
Lake Forest, IL, Durand Art Institute, Lake Forest College, A Century of American Painting: Masterpieces Loaned by The Art Institute of Chicago, June 10–16, 1957, cat. 16, as The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati.
Washington, DC, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Private World of John Singer Sargent, Apr. 18–June 14, 1964, cat. 73; Cleveland Museum of Art, July 7–Aug. 16, 1964; Worcester Art Museum, MA, Sept. 17–Nov. 1, 1964; Utica, NY, Munson–Williams–Proctor Institute, Nov. 15, 1964–Jan. 3, 1965.
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, John Singer Sargent, Oct. 1, 1986–Jan. 4, 1987, cat. 149.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, The Lure of Italy, Sept. 16–Dec. 13, 1992, cat. 44; Cleveland Museum of Art, Feb. 3–Apr. 11, 1993, Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, May 23–Aug. 8, 1993, cat. 44.
London, Tate Gallery, John Singer Sargent, Oct. 15, 1998–Jan. 11, 1999; Washington, DC, National Gallery, Feb. 28–May 31, 1999, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, June 23–Sept. 26, 1999.
Stanford, CA, Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, The Changing Garden: European and American Gardens and Parks, June 11–Sept. 7, 2003.
Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, The Edwardians: Secrets and Desires, Mar. 12–June 14, 2004; Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia, July 9–Sept. 12, 2004.
London, National Portrait Gallery, Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, Feb. 12–May 25, 2015; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 29–Oct. 4, 2015, cat. 83.
Art Institute of Chicago, John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age, July 1–Sept. 30, 2018, cat. 34, fig. 40.
John Singer Sargent, London, England, 1907; sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1914.
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