Tuesday, June 1, 2010

John Singer Sargent

Today my art therapy client and I review paintings by John singer Sargent.

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was an American painter, and a leading portrait painter of his era. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings.

What I noticed particularly at this time viewing his paintings, was his dramatic use of dark.....very dark.......and light.

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1883–84
John Singer Sargent
Oil on canvas

In 1882, John Singer Sargent wrote of wanting to paint Madame Pierre Gautreau's portrait. He worked on the portrait at the Gautreau's summer home in Brittany in 1883, but he had difficulty finding a suitable pose and perspective. Numerous studies show his different attempts at the composition. The portrait as finally executed was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1884 as "Portrait de Mme ***" and created a scandal. Sargent considered it one of his best works; an unfinished second version of the same pose is in the Tate Gallery in London.

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