[image_with_animation image_url=”8958″ alignment=”center” animation=”None” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”] In the April 13, 2018 V. Note, I was Looking Closely at JS Sargent’s Portrait of Henry James. In the post I got all up in that portrait, and guessed at Sargent’s palette, his brushes, and his process. Everything seemed to make sense except for a diagonal stroke of blue across his mouth, and a smaller area of blue at his temple. The mouth really had me wondering. I couldn’t understand how this man who was so careful with his brush could make such a wild stroke, and choose to leave it. From my previous post: What the heck is that diagonal blue stripe across Henry James’ face?!? Sargent gave the illusion of being loose so that his work appeared fresh, and though his brushwork in this painting is bold, I’d never call him sloppy. How did that blue get there, and why did he leave it? I’m completely baffled. Thoughts anyone? After I wrote that post I ran into a saucy bit of information. Here I quote the Royal Academy: The Daily Telegraph reported that “About half-past one, when the attendance was thinning for lunch, the crash of glass was heard, and an elderly white-haired woman was seen to be hacking at the Sargent portrait with a butcher’s cleaver.” Mary Wood slashed the portrait and cried “Votes for Women!” The Summer Exhibition visitors – predominantly women – cried “Lynch her!” and “Turn her out!” This suffragette won no friends for her cause on that day. Quoting BBC Arts: “I am very grieved to have had to do this. It will all be over immediately women have the vote.” Commenting on the inequalities in the art world, Mrs Wood added that Sargent’s portrait would “have not been worth so much” if it had been painted by a woman. Mary Wood was sent to prison, but released a week later due to poor health brought on by hunger striking. The incident at the Summer Exhibition was not the first and certainly not the last attack on public art by a member of the Suffrage movement. Two months earlier, Mary Nicholson slashed Velazquez’s masterpiece the Rokeby Venus at the National Gallery with devastating effect. Her action was in response to the arrest of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst the previous day. Sargent’s portrait of Henry James, fully restored by the artist himself, now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Well there you have it. The blue is Sargent’s repair on the painting. Now I wonder how he managed to fix it so well! As for Mary, I feel it, really I do, but she won no rights nor hearts for her cause. Myself, I would have gone for the Renoir. [image_with_animation image_url=”10371″ alignment=”center” animation=”None” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”] Learn about hunger strikes and much more in my “Paint Like John Singer Sargent” Workshop this Saturday. This class will improve your paintings, no matter what your style or experience level. Meat cleaver optional.