American Impressionists, and I'm devoting
some space to them because I feel they're constantly overlooked
in the (well-deserved) hype over the French Impressionists.
My new favorite Sargent painting (at left) is Rosina, painted in Capri
in 1876. This is from Sargent's Women, a book I bought after
seeing the great Sargent show at the Brooklyn Museum.
John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler are best known for
their large, glamorous society portraits. Sargent's masterpieces were "Madame
X and Carnation, Lily, Lily,
Rose, and Whistler's, Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1: Portrait
of the Painter's Mother. All
those are very skillful, but not my favorite. Yet they're still among
my favorite artists due to their work that stands almost at the opposite end
of the spectrum in style and subject matter - their revolutionary watercolors,
sketches, and prints.
Sargent, Whistler and Winslow Homer were the first to break through
the stodgy tradition of English watercolors and get
their loose, sketchy watercolors exhibited as legitimate artwork rather
than seen as preparatory sketches for larger formal oil works. The Impressionistic
concepts that changed the Paris art world a few decades earlier finally
migrated fully to the US. Sargent's watercolors, like other Impressionistic
works, focus on light, natural landscapes, and casual people.
Sargent has been one of my favorite artists for many years now. I've
seen several exhibits of his work. I recently included Whistler on
this page after seeing a revelatory show of his prints from Venice in
the Freer Gallery in Washington D.C.
work was criticized after his death for its superficiality and lack of
modern sensibility. But, much like Norman Rockwell and other artists from
the Golden Age of Illustration, his supreme technical skill and amazing
sense of realism has received more appreciation recently.
Personally, watercolor has always been one of my favorite media - I have
no talent with oils. I've also always appreciated a fast, unfinished style
and economy of strokes that are epitomized by Sargent's deft brushstrokes.
Seeing large Sargent exhibits at the Met in NYC and the National Gallery
in DC cemented my appreciation for his work.
I've created this page to spotlight these artists since web sites for
them seemed sparse and I wanted to offer some unique content on my site. Check out the following pages: