updated 8/27/2010 4:53:17 AM ET 2010-08-27T08:53:17

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y., Aug. 26, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A major exhibition featuring the works of the foremost American portrait painter of the late 19th-century, John Singer Sargent, is on display now through December 31, 2010 at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown NY. John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Praise of Women features approximately 25 paintings of Sargent's portraits of American women and connects the artist's stylistic choices with the character traits of his female subjects.  

At this Cooperstown art museum, Sargent's exhibit is divided into three thematic sections -- Women of Fashion, Women of Mystery, and Women of Substance. The exhibition showcases images of women who exerted leadership in the arts and society as well as in their careers and in the intellectual community. It will also demonstrate Sargent's keen interest in exotic women little known or understood by an American audience, and his visual assertion of the importance of mystery in the definition of femininity.  

John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Praise of Women features well known subjects such as Sargent's famous Capriote model Rosina Ferrara and perhaps his most famous (or infamous) subject of all, Virginie Avegno Gautreau, or Madame X, represented in the exhibition by two preparatory drawings for her 1883-4 portrait.

About the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY:

Nestled on the western shore of Otsego Lake, housed in an elegant 1930s neo-Georgian mansion, the Fenimore Art Museum presents a perspective on the heritage and history of America through art.

The Fenimore Art Museum is dedicated to integrating history with art history and including under-appreciated genres, primarily American folk art and Native American art, in a broad and progressive American canon. The Fenimore Art Museum seeks to honor the extraordinary ability of ordinary people to shape American culture.

Fenimore's folk art collection is one of the nation's largest and finest. Begun with extensive gifts from Stephen C. Clark, the collection includes a variety of paintings, ship figureheads, quilts, weathervanes, trade signs, cigar-store figures, carvings, and decorated stoneware, all created by American folk artists. The oldest piece in the collection, a seven-foot-long panel on which Hudson River Valley painter John Heaton depicted the Martin Van Bergen farmstead in 1733, is considered to be the earliest scene of everyday life ever painted in this country.

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