John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925) painted Parisian socialite Madame Pierre Gautreau in the hopes of furthering his reputation as a portrait painter. Suggesting the bold personal style for which his sitter was known, the artist at first depicted the right strap of her dress slipping off her shoulder-a daring touch that was met with ridicule rather than praise when the painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1884. Sargent repainted the strap but kept the work from public view for over 30 years. When he sold the painting to The Met he asked that the sitter’s name be concealed. An icon of the collection, Madame X is perhaps Sargent’s best-known portrait, and an attention-getting cover for this journal.