Geneve Rixford Sargeant

Theme/Style – Impressionism, Modernism, figurative art, landscapes, portraits, still lifes

Media – Oils, watercolors, pastels, lithographs

Artistic Focus – Called “Madame Cezanne” by her teacher Andre Lhote because of her interest in structure and her patient approach to the problems of painting, Geneve Rixford Sargeant created works that also were said to “express an obvious joy in painting” and were “a personal expression of the painter.”

Career Highlights –

• Born Geneve Rixford in San Francisco in 1868, Sargent first studied at the City’s School of Design under Virgil Williams and Emil Carlsen, and then at the Art Students League in New York under William Merritt Chase.
• In 1891 she returned to San Francisco to open a studio on San Francisco’s Montgomery Street, and was an art instructor both there and at the California School of Fine Arts.
• She married Winthrop Webster Sargeant in 1893. The couple lived in Chicago for a time, where Sargeant exhibited at the Art Institute in 1901 and 1903.
• The Sargeants returned to California – eventually settling in the Los Angeles area in 1906, where they managed an orange ranch and raised their three sons.
• When the family moved back to San Francisco, Sargeant became one of the founding members of the Sketch Club and gave her first solo exhibition of California landscapes there. In 1915 the San Francisco Art Association merged with the Sketch Club, and Sargeant became its director.
• Through the early 1920s Sargeant exhibited widely, at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, as well as at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Oakland Gallery, and in 1923 she was included – along with Gertrude Albright, Mabel Alvarez, Ray Boynton, Rinaldo Cuneo, Maynard Dixon, William Gaw, Armin Hanson, Clarence Hinkle and others – in the premier Western Painters’ Exhibition at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, which was mounted to bring Eastern attention to the art of the Western U.S. and further its place as an integral and influential part of American art.
• The Sargeants then moved to Paris, where Sargeant studied with Andre Lhote and exhibited at the Salon Français and the Salon des Independants to favorable reviews from French critics. Upon the death of her husband in 1927, Sargeant returned to San Francisco.
• Sargeant exhibited widely during the next 20 years, winning first prizes in exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Association and the Santa Cruz Art League, and also exhibiting at the 1935 California-Pacific Exposition in San Diego, the San Francisco Museum of Art Inaugural, and the Golden Gate International Exposition.
• She had solo shows at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in 1934 and the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1939. A retrospective exhibition of Sargeant’s work was held at the Oakland Municipal Art Gallery in 1940, and in 1948 a Sargeant retrospective called Sixty Years of Painting was held at San Francisco’s de Young Museum.
• An active member of the San Francisco art community until her death, Geneve Rixford Sargeant passed away at the age of 89 in Palo Alto, California, in 1957.