Panels & Lectures

Author Event with Donna Lucey, biographer of "Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas"

September 9, 2018 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm The Chanler at Cliff Walk, 117 Memorial Blvd, Newport

Join us on Terrace at The Chanler at Cliff Walk for light fare and drinks courtesy of the exceptional chefs at Cara, as author Donna M. Lucey shares the lives of four remarkable women painted by the renowned American portraitist John Singer Sargent from her new book, SARGENT’S WOMEN: Four Lives Behind the Canvas. The hotel’s namesake, Elizabeth Chanler, is one of the four extraordinary figures in Ms. Lucey’s biography, and her portrait by Sargent graces the book’s cover.

Sargent captured the moods and longings of hundreds of Gilded Age high-society women in a body of portraits astonishing in its breadth. With wit, empathy and a novelist’s sense of detail and drama, Lucey deftly exposes the dazzling worlds and complicated lives of a few particularly fascinating subjects: Elsie Palmer, Sally Fairchild, Elizabeth Chanler, and Isabella Stewart Gardner. Well ahead of their time, these extraordinary figures upended conventions and staked out their own territory. All of them had forbidden love affairs. One took up the Bohemian life of an artist; another explored spiritualism and defied her overbearing father; and yet another created her own art museum, outmaneuvering the richest plutocrats on the planet.

Born into almost unimaginable wealth, the women Sargent painted were beautiful, stubborn, strong-willed, and fiercely independent. They lived exceptional lives, hobnobbing with the most sought-after figures in the art and literary worlds. Their portraits are like novellas: stories of forbidden love, family conflict, ambition, and desire. A multilayered, multi-life biography, SARGENT’S WOMEN shines a well-deserved light on the lives of four groundbreaking women.

Ms. Lucey will be available to sign hard and soft cover copies of the book, which will be available for purchase at the event. 

Light fare and a glass of wine included, courtesy of Cara restaurant. Additional drinks may be purchased.



Donna M. Lucey is the author of the best-selling Archie and Amélie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age and other books. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, writer Henry Wiencek.