Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sargent's Alligators

Posted by Charley Parker at 2:07 pm

Sargent's Alligators
In response to my recent post about Rembrandt’s elephants, there were suggestions that perhaps alligators were not getting their proper representation as subjects for great artists.

In return, I give you John Singer Sargent’s beautiful watercolor of Muddy Alligators, and some related drawings.

Original is in the Worcester Art Museum; slightly larger version on WikiPaintings.


7 comments for Sargent's Alligators »

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  1. Comment by Sarah
    Wednesday, November 6, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

    Yikes! That’s extreme plein air painting!

  2. Comment by Kate
    Wednesday, November 6, 2013 @ 3:41 pm

    Wow! What a magnificent work! The bleached light and the perfect shade tone, with such a clever composition that intermingles the bodies, and makes them look even more dangerous… and the mouths and teeth!

  3. Comment by Marie Cisneros
    Wednesday, November 6, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

    The blue and lavender tones gives them a more calmer and quieter appearance than what Alligators probably deserve. Very beautiful!

  4. Comment by David J Teter
    Thursday, November 7, 2013 @ 12:32 am

    Oh yeah, gators! I forgot about the Sargent Alligators.
    I should say this, my comment, came about because for about 2 hours your site was down and the page showed GatorHost, hence my comments.
    I figured you were going to have to pay homage to the gator, which you did in grand fashion!

    The watercolor, for all of Sargents usually looser paintings this one is more carefully studied. It is simply a marvel.
    It is a mastery of light, darks, colors and design.

  5. Comment by Dave Brasgalla
    Thursday, November 7, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    Sargent’s watercolours always manage to knock me for six. What an eye he had!

  6. Comment by James Gurney
    Friday, November 8, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    The notes in the Worcester museum page mention wax resist for the alligators, but it seems he used it more for the plants on the left.

    There’s a half finished Sargent watercolor of alligators over at jssgallery:
    …which seems to show him laying in big areas of ultramarine, raw sienna, and burnt umber before the darn alligators got up and moved.

  7. Comment by tim b
    Friday, November 8, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

    Just when you think you’ve got the boundaries of Sargent’s talents down, he brings another continent of awesome.

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