Reviving the past with artificial intelligence

While studying John Singer Sargent’s paintings of wealthy women in 19th-century society, Jessica Helfand, a former Caltech artist in residence, had an idea: to search census records to find the identities of those women’s servants. “I thought, ‘What happens if I paint these women in the style of John Singer Sargent?’ It’s a sort of cultural restitution,” Helfand explained, “reverse engineering the narrative by reclaiming a kind of beauty, style, and majesty.”

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