Sargent’s Daughters’ Contemporary Renaissance

A new gallery on New York’s Lower East Side draws on the past.

by Jason Farago


While many budding galleries on New York’s Lower East Side obsessively chase youth and novelty, Sargent’s Daughters takes a calmer, more historical approach to curating. In fact, its name is an homage to the great Edwardian portraitist John Singer Sargent. “He was someone working in a traditional medium,” says Allegra LaViola, who with Meredith Rosen, cofounded the gallery in late 2013. “But in an innovative manner.” The pair have advocated for a new generation of pioneering artists who are pushing boundaries in drawing, painting, and sculpture; for a summer show, they filled their East Broadway aerie with paintings by 40 young artists, all of them women. Currently up is the first U.S. solo show by the English Expressionist painter Laura Lancaster. Yet the duo have also consistently reappraised established artists such as Ross Bleckner, whose underappreciated small scale floral sketches they recently paired with paintings by the 41-year-old German artist Volker Eichelmann. “Ross had never exhibited these before,” LaViola notes. “And, like Ross, Volker is dealing with ideas of the past, a reimagined past, and the way in which current art history filters the past. That’s something we’re always thinking about here.”