During his travels in Spain in 1879, John Singer Sargent was mulling over a major work of art in which he could express his love of Gypsy music, dance, and picturesque costumes. On his return to Paris he set to work on a wide horizontal picture whose proportions simulated the shallow stage space of popular musical establishments. He named the painting El Jaleo to suggest the name of a dance, the jaleo de jerez, while counting on the broader meaning jaleo, which means ruckus or hubbub.
The painting was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1882 with the more explicit title El Jaleo: Danse des gitanes (Dance of the Gypsies). The painting was purchased by American businessman and diplomat T. Jefferson Coolidge in 1882, and was given to Mrs. Gardner as a gift in 1914. Then, as now, El Jaleo resides in the Spanish Cloister of the Gardner Museum, just off the famous Courtyard.
This ornament captures the central figure of Sargent's work, the semi-veiled flamenco dancer, in fluid motion with her skirt in one hand while the other flourishes with the music. Have Sargent's El Jaleo dancer gracefully twirl her way onto your Christmas tree this holiday season!
Ornaments of other subjects and artists featured in the Gardner Museum also available. Complete your collection of Gardner Museum-inspired ornaments with the El Jaleo dancer!