John Singer Sargent, Watercolor Master

John Singer Sargent, born in 1856 in Florence to American parents,  who was raised in Europe and lived there as an expatriate, was a watercolor master. Last weekend I had the privilege of drinking in many of his beautiful watercolors at an unprecedented exhibition of 93 of them at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. This museum owns many of his watercolors, as does the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, but because works on paper are fragile and hate the light, they are rarely shown, much less packed up and shipped anywhere.

So, given the once in a lifetime nature of this opportunity, this exhibit was on my must do list all summer. Various other things got in the way, however, and all of a sudden the show was getting ready to close! I carved out a Sunday-the last day- and drove up to Brooklyn to drink it all in. What a day! I was completely and utterly dazzled by the spectacular beauty of his work; I can hardly find the words to describe it.

Sargent is famous for his portraits of society folks, in the US and Europe, which are all rendered in oil, some of his most famous landscapes are also oil paintings. You may recognize some of these

Madame X

Madame X

El Jaleo

El Jaleo

Nonchaloir

Nonchaloir

In the Generalife

In the Generalife

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

Carnation, Lilly, Lily, Rose

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

I adore all of these oils, but I reserve my highest esteem and praise for the watercolors, for they are so beautiful they almost hurt my eyes. I’ve had little opportunity to see them in the past, so this show was quite a treat. (It will be moving to Boston in the fall, and Houston next year, so you still have a chance to see these beauties before they pack them into storage again.)

Normally when an exhibition features paintings on loan, no photography is allowed, but miracle of miracles, in Brooklyn pictures were permitted (no flash of course). I didn’t have my Canon, but even the Iphone pictures demonstrate the beauty of the watercolors (although a couple are a bit blurry as I pulled away too fast). Please look these up online or find yourself a well-printed book for a better representation. Any little white blobs are reflections of the lights; I tried to position myself so not to get them, but… Anyway-some of my pictures-

In a Medici Villa

In a Medici Villa

Simplon Pass: The Lesson

Simplon Pass: The Lesson detail

Simplon Pass: The Lesson detail

Simplon Pass: The Lesson detail

In a Levantine Port

In a Levantine Port

In a Levantine Port detail

In a Levantine Port detail

In the Cashmere Shawl

The Cashmere Shawl

IMG_4106

The Cashmere Shawl detail

Under the Rialto Bridge

Under the Rialto Bridge

Under the Rialto Bridge detail

Under the Rialto Bridge detail

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens

Boboli Gardens detail

Boboli Gardens detail

Carrara: Lizzatori I detail

Carrara: Lizzatori I detail

That is just a taste; please Google Image his watercolors because there are many sites featuring them, and enjoy!
Thanks for reading.

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2 Responses to John Singer Sargent, Watercolor Master

  1. justlife57 says:

    I like the oil painting more then the water colors.

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