Lines and Colors art blog

Sargent watercolors at the Brooklyn Museum

John Singer Sargent watergolors at the Brooklyn Museum
John Singer Sargent, long dismissed by the art establishment as a facile painter of society portraits, has finally in recent years been getting something of his due as a painter.

Beyond the technical mastery and delicious painterly flourish of his formal work in oil, Sargent was one of the great masters of the medium of watercolor; and it was in his watercolors, often painted while vacationing or traveling, that he found his greatest joy as an artist.

The Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston have put together an exhibition that draws on the Sargent watercolors in the collection of both museums.

Titled simply John Singer Sargent Watercolors, it consists of ninety-three works in watercolor with mixtures of opaque watercolor, bodycolor, graphite and whatever else Sargent could find to achieve his goals. To these they have added nine of Sargent’s oils — just in case the watercolors aren’t enough to leave you completely dazzled.

I consider this a must-see show if I can possibly make it, and hope to give you a subsequent first-hand report.

In the meanwhile, there is a catalog from the exhibition, John Singer Sargent Watercolors, that James Gurney reviews here.

I can also recommend an older book, The Watercolors of John Singer Singer Sargent by Carl Little, but judging from Gurney’s review, I would go for the new catalog first.

The exhibition will be at the Brooklyn Museum until July 28, 2013. (Incidentally, the Brooklyn Museum, as I write here, is a terrific museum in general, often unfairly overshadowed by its more famous counterparts in Manhattan.)

The exhibition then moves to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where it will be on display from October 13, 2013 to January 20, 2014. The last stop will be at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for which dates have not yet been set.

There is a small slideshow on the Brooklyn Museum page for the exhibit, but with a bit of clicking you can search their collections for John Singer Sargent Watercolors and access more works. Use the blue arrow at right of the top section of thumbnails to access more objects (their search interface needs work). On the page for an individual work, click on “Download” and choose a large size for larger images.

The MFA has an easier to navigate search; click on “Zoom” for larger images.

[Via Gurney Journey]


4 responses to “Sargent watercolors at the Brooklyn Museum”

  1. Wow, I hope a similar exhibition reaches London in the near future. I saw a small collection of Sargent’s watercolours at the RA in 2010 and I was blown away.

    You’re in for a treat Charley.

    1. Thanks, Chris. Very much looking forward to it.

  2. CeeCee Avatar

    Amazing exhibition plus the museum’s permanent collection far exceeded my expectations; but best of all was the ease- the parking lot was shared with the Brooklyn botanical garden- also not to be missed!

  3. I finally made it to NY to see this exhibition this week– an extraordinary show. Amazing to think that the Museum bought dozens of Sargent watercolors for $20,000.

    Thanks for flagging this!