Margaret Stuyvesant Rutherfurd White (Mrs. Henry White)

John Singer Sargent

(American; b. Florence, 1856–d. London, 1925)


Margaret Stuyvesant Rutherfurd White (Mrs. Henry White)



Oil on canvas

88 5/8 x 56 5/8 in. (225.1 x 143.8 cm), Image size: 88 x 56 ¼ in. (223.5 x 142.9 cm)

Gift of John Campbell White

Accession Number: 


Fashionable socialite Margaret “Daisy” Stuyvesant Rutherfurd White (1857–1916) was the wife of an American diplomat. The couple lived in Paris when they commissioned this portrait from Sargent, then on the cusp of a wildly successful career. In late 1882, Mrs. White’s ill health caused a hiatus in the sittings, which resumed the following year at the couple’s vacation home in Cannes.

This dazzling early likeness helped establish Sargent’s reputation as the pre-eminent society portraitist of America’s Gilded Age. The artist’s exquisite rendering of fine objects and rich fabrics is already evident in this canvas, as is his celebrated skill at capturing complex hand gestures such as twisting wrists and folded fingers. This portrait also demonstrates Sargent’s ability to produce portraits that were at once flattering and penetrating. The elegant Mrs. White stands erect, gazing directly at the viewer, from whom she demands attention and respect.