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Saturday, July 25, 2015

John Singer Sargent at the Met

Oh my! where to begin? GO TO NYC; SEE THE John Singer Sargent exhibit. NOW. That about sums it up. Some of you may remember that I went to NYC in April 2013 to see an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of John Singer Sargent watercolors which literally blew me out of the water (pardon the pun). But this exhibit at the Met on portraits of his family and friends really takes the cake. I had great expectations of this show, not knowing the half of it. Not only was this exhibit extensive and covers most of his career, I saw works I knew not of. There were many that were well known for one reason or another (notoriety being one reason). But the portraits that were not well known were quite as stunning as those that are. And there was room after room of them. There was not many galleries at the Met where photos were not allowed. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact I could take photos of this show as in Denver it is very rare indeed that photos are allowed at any exhibit, not even without a flash. The thing is I had to look at the works too, so it took me a long time to get through the exhibit. I took some closeups of details I felt I needed for future reference. He handled paint so deftly. Makes it look so easy.
There were two paintings of this Italian artist friend of Sargent. The one above, which is a personal favorite, as well as the one below, which is also quite amazing. One must contemplate before one begins to paint out of doors. I apologize, I was not good about taking photos of the tags so I cannot remember this man's name. I did my best with the glare from the lights.  Some of them were under glass as well. More than few other artists did he paint and that were represented such as Claude Monet, Rodin and William Merritt Chase - a portrait that was commissioned by his students. It was a full length, life-sized portrait so those are some dedicated students to have commissioned that portrait for Chase.

There is a small room near the end of the show with drawings and watercolors from the Met's own collection of Sargent's; many of which had not been on view before. Sargent's sister, Violet, donated a sizable collection of her brothers personal works to the museum upon his death. Below are a couple. Included were some of his "Tommy" paintings that he did of British soldiers while he was out at the front to document WWI.

Paul Manship, January 30, 1921
Paul Manships daughter, at the age of 7, while watching Sargent sketch this portrait of her father remarked: "Mr Sargent is drawing Papa just like writing!" Does that not say all that needs to be said?
I will leave you with that "high" note.

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