Tuesday, December 1, 2009
John Singer Sargent | 1856-1925 | Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes 1897 | Oil on canvas | 214 x 101cm | Bequest of Edith Minturn Phelps Stokes (Mrs. I. N.), 1938 (38.104) | Collection: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York | Photograph courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The women that John Singer Sargent painted have a definite presence. Obviously one immediately understands that they are beautiful, well bred and well heeled, but on closer inspection, one senses their self awareness, competence, independence and intellect. If I were to choose any artist in history to paint a portrait of my dear friend Germaine, it would be Sargent.
I have known Germaine for 36 years, and in that time I have come to treasure her powerful intellect, her surgical wit and her even and measured approach to life. Her friendship has been unwavering.
In an earlier time, Germaine might have been considered a Blue Stocking, admirable in itself, but she is also a devoted wife, a loving mother, a gifted tennis player and a wonderful cook and hostess. She seems to accomplish everything with ease. The most embarrassing thing I can think about her (and I won’t go into Nancy Drew) is that we were nerds together – she outgrew this condition much more quickly and gracefully than I.
I wish I could repay the friendship you’ve shown to me, but for now happy birthday dear friend. Thanks for your beauty, your humor, your brains and your example!