A year later his sister Mary was born. Sargent enjoyed international acclaim as a portrait painter although not without controversy and some critical reservation; an early submission to the Paris Salon his "Portrait of Madame X" was intended to consolidate his position as a society painter but it resulted in scandal instead. While Mary was pregnant they stopped in Florence Italy because of a cholera epidemic.
His oeuvre documents worldwide travel from Venice to the Tyrol Corfu the Middle East Montana Maine and Florida. In later life Sargent expressed ambivalence about the restrictions of formal portrait work and devoted much of his energy to mural painting and working en plein air.