At the end of this post I have my work from last night's 'Drawing the Head' class but first JSS!
Clearly, he was always drawing,” says Miriam Stewart, an assistant curator of drawings at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “The body of Sargent’s drawings and sketches over the course of his life shows that he was an indefatigable draftsman, constantly drawing and taking notes wherever he went. We have sketchbooks from his years as a teenager that provide the basis of some of his early training.”The above drawing in charcoal is of Henry James and was executed (and signed) by JSS in 1912. It's not untypical of a number of charcoal drawings he did - note how the background and clothing are sketched in very roughly and yet again there is an emphasis on the full range of values and marked simple shapes. The loose background and clothing contrast with the sensitive way in which the head has been drawn.
There are a number of sources of further information about JSS's drawings:
- An article from the New York Times comments on an exhibition of JSS drawings in 1985.
- Copies of his portrait drawings can be found in the Dover publication. Click the link to read the reviews of others who have bought this book. Personally I think it's a great resource for those who are trying to find a looser way of drawing which still represents good drawing practice.
- You can also see the drawings and sketchbooks of John Singer Sargent kept on the Harvard University Art Museums Database. This now includes sketchbooks and drawings and expanded information for some 800 images. To search the database, select 'search' from the menu, then select search all images and click submit query and this brings up all the images on the database. I'd recommend spending some time reviewing just some of the pages to get an idea of how he drew.
- Harvard University Art Museums Database: Sargent at Harvard
- Fall edition of American Artists' Drawing Magazine - Mark G Mitchell "Drawing out Sargent."
- New York Times: Vivien Raynor "Art - John Singer Sargent drawings on view"
(May 24 1985)
- Dover Art Library: Sargent Portrait Drawings - 42 works by John Singer Sargent