John Singer Sargent, Beach Scene, 1880. Oil on panel, 25.4 x 34.3 cm. Private Collection.

Sargent was born in Florence, Italy, and spent his childhood and adolescence touring Europe with his American parents who had decided on a nomadic lifestyle abroad in pursuit of culture rather than a more secure existence back home.

His mother did eventually take him to the United States in 1876, and it was the sea voyages, as opposed to the time he spent in the country, which provided inspiration.