In the Luxembourg Gardens
Sargent, working under the influence of the French Impressionists, captures the Parisian summer twilight in the opalescent, grayish lavender sky and the visitors' unhurried pace. At the left, a stylish couple, devoted to seeing and being seen in the fashionable Left Bank promenade, ignores observers and resists association with any explicit story. Metropolitan life was the quintessential modern subject and an ideal theme for the Impressionists, who chronicled the dynamic spirit of their era. Paris, which had been transformed during the Second Empire (1852–70), was a consummate modern city, in which parks—built or reconfigured in response to an escalating population—epitomized urban growth and energy. John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American expatriate artist, considered the "leading portrait painter of his generation" for his evocations of Edwardian-era luxury.