Saturday, June 1, 2013

C'est John Singer Sargent

Was I in Brooklyn today? I am sure my body was . . . as I wandered the Brooklyn Museum, taking in the John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925) watercolor show. Sargent's breadth of work sent me traveling across Europe. He painted portraits, quarries, mountains, boats, villas and churches from England to Spain to Italy to Greece to Syria, etc...

I was particularly struck by Sargent's varied palette using the following techniques:*
  • masterful use of white and tight cropping
White Ships, circa 1908

  • washed edges of paintings
A Tramp, circa 1904–6.

  • experimental wax resists to the paint
  • thick gouache, white zinc in the watercolor  
The Cashmere Shawl, circa 1911.

  • dark backgrounds allowing foregrounds to pop 
Villa di Marlia, Lucca: A Fountain, 1910.

Then, thanks to exhibit savvy, I found moments immersed in "Sargent's studio." The exhibition had mini screens next to select paintings showing videos of how Sargent would have painted the very painting next to it. I really had an appreciation for the craft and a better understanding of Sargent's varied techniques!

What a great show! Plus, I walked around a Farmer's Market - one whiff of the lavender, a glimpse of the Memorial Arch and I found myself off again . . . Wait? Was I Paris? Was I in Brooklyn? Sacré Bleu! A bientot!

The Soldiers and Sailor's Memorial Arch, Brooklyn

*Brooklyn Museum's Creative Commons Page, grants the use of their work/photos which are posted.

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