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Portrait of Charles Deering

Portrait of Charles Deering

John Singer Sargent

An item at Art Institute of Chicago

Although best known for his portraits, John Singer Sargent was also an accomplished plein air (outdoor) painter. In this uncommissioned likeness of his longtime friend Chicagoan Charles Deering at his home in Florida, the artist harmonized portraiture and landscape, weaving the sitter into a tapestry of swift brushstrokes, warm and cool hues, and the area's rich vegetation. Dressed in white, Deering relaxes in a cane chair with tropical foliage around him as well as views of boats and blue sky in the distance. Sargent stayed with Deering for two months in 1917 while spending considerable time painting outdoors in both oil and watercolor.

Americas in the Making

An exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago

Portrait of Charles DeeringPortrait of Charles DeeringPortrait of Charles DeeringPortrait of Charles DeeringPortrait of Charles Deering

These galleries present dynamic and wide-ranging art forms made in the Americas, where artists have been at work since time immemorial. The region now known as Chicago has long been a vibrant center of Native artistic practices, including those of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi nations. European settler colonialism and the development of the metropolis-including our museum's founding in 1879-introduced global art forms. Together, these local histories shape the collections we steward today, which encompass diverse makers, objects, and styles spanning centuries and continents, from North to South America and the Caribbean. The works here offer layered stories of the Americas in the making. Created for a variety of purposes-from aesthetic to ceremonial to practical —they have the power to evoke a range of emotions and responses. Complex factors impacted their making, including displacement and immigration, enslavement, global trade, and indus-trialization. As a result, they offer insights across eras while inviting reinterpretation in our moment. Just as artistic traditions are continually made and remade, so, too, are our efforts to present them. Today you can find selections of the many histories of art in the Americas on this floor and the floor above, in tandem with Gallery 136, a dedicated space for celebrating Indigenous art.