A rarely seen John Singer Sargent painting once owned by a Gramercy Park theater club has been acquired by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Players Club in 2002 sold the work-an 1890 full-length painting of one of its founders, the actor Edwin Booth-to a private collector. Andrew Walker, director of the Amon Carter, declined to say how much the museum paid but said a work of this type is valued at between $4 million and $5 million.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art
John Singer Sargent's 1890 portrait of Edwin Booth
"It's Sargent when he was really on his game," said Mr. Walker. "There is an audaciousness to the way he handles paint, and that's present in this work."
Born in Florence, Italy, to American parents, Sargent (1856-1925) became a well-known portraitist after the 1884 exhibition of his painting of Madame Pierre Gautreau, known as "Madame X." After years of commissioned portraits, he later turned to watercolors and landscapes.
Because the Booth painting hung within the private club, which commissioned it, the public has had only rare opportunities to see it. It was included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Sargent memorial exhibition in 1926 and was shown after the 2002 sale.
The acquisition is a benchmark for the Amon Carter Museum, and it comes at a time when the Players' last remaining Sargent painting is coming back to the club after being put up as collateral. That work, a seated portrait of actor Joseph Jefferson, also a club founder, is still for sale, and it could clear significant debts for the club.
President Johnnie Planco anticipated that the sale would, like the Booth painting, be a seven-figure deal. A party to celebrate its return is scheduled for next week.
"The idea is to attract a buyer," Mr. Planco said.
A version of this article appeared September 6, 2013, on page A21 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: 7-Figure Sargents.