Sargent - A Turkish Woman by a Stream

John Singer Sargent: “A Turkish Woman by a Stream”, c. 1920-1927

Sargent - The lady with the umbrella

John Singer Sargent: “The lady with the umbrella”, 1911

Sargent watercolours at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery presents the first major UK exhibition of watercolours in nearly 100 years by the Anglo-American artist John Singer Sargent (1856- 1925). 21 June – 8 October 2017.

Source: Dulwich Picture Gallery

A key selection of works from over 30 lenders, including “The lady with the umbrella”, 1911, on display in the UK for the first time, offers an alternative perspective on Sargent, demonstrating a technical brilliance and striking individuality.

'Sargent: The Watercolours' brings together nearly 80 works from arguably Sargent’s greatest period of watercolour production between 1900 and 1918. Renowned as the leading portraitist of his generation, Sargent mastered the medium of watercolour during his painting expeditions to Southern Europe and the Middle East, where he developed a distinctive way of seeing and composing. Whilst these watercolours have often been dismissed as simple travel souvenirs, they were an integral part of Sargent’s artistic production.

Sargent practiced the art of watercolour from a young age and continued to use it throughout his career, his style developing in tandem with his work in oils. By 1900, aged 44 and at the height of his career, he had grown restless, seeking escape from the confines of his studio and the pressures of portrait commissions. Working en plein air he explored subjects of his own choosing, travelling to remote spots where he could work undisturbed. For this purpose, he regularly turned to watercolour, a medium that allowed him to paint, rapidly and without much preparation, a scene that caught his eye.

Arranged thematically, the exhibition showcases Sargent’s landscapes, architectural structures and figurative scenes. It draws attention to the most radical aspects of his oeuvre, in particular his use of the close-up to focus attention on a specific motif, his unusual use of perspective and the arresting and dynamic poses of his figures. The show also serves as a startling reminder of Sargent’s mastery of the visual complexities of light, the effects of which are present in almost every one of his works.

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