- Process: what I'm doing
- Summary: a summary of what I've found out so far
- Books: a note of books about JSS
- John Singer Sargent Links: a list of useful website links for researching JSS (see the end).
I want to find out more about why I feel drawn to the works of John Singer Sargent. I know he has a thing or two to teach me - but am not sure what as yet.
This is what I'm doing:
- study works he produced
- work out why he is so good / what makes him different
- work out how he works (process being important to the emulation process)
- study his compositions
- study his colours and saturation levels
- decide how much is media specific and how much is generic to all art
- try to emulate. I've not yet decided whether this is about trying to reproduce one his works in my media or trying his techniques with a subject of my choice. More discussion on this one in future posts!
I'm going to start with a few brief details about his background - and will annotate with my notes in italics
Home: He was born in Florence, Italy (in 1856) to American parents and did not visit the USA until he was 21. He lived for most of life in Western Europe. In London he had a large house and studio (previously used by Whistler) at 13 Tite Street in Chelsea where he lived until he died in 1925. You can read about the 'artists colony' that developed in Tite Street here. and a second studio at 12-14 Fulham Road (Thanks to Shirley of Paper and Threads for the photographs of his second home in Tite Street - cannibalised me into a merged crop)
Travel: He travelled a lot as a child and led a nomadic existence from being a small child.
Observation: His mother taught him how to see and encouraged constant study of the landscape (good observation is a critical faculty which all artists working from life need to develop)
Education: He had a formal and traditional art schooling. He
- copied teacher's watercolours (there's a prompt if ever there was one!)
- drew from plaster casts (I may well have a go at this at the V&A)
- studied old Masters in situ (I very much endorse this approach where possible. Images in a book on the internet never ever do justice to the real thing - hence why I visit art museums and galleries so much. It's a good habit to get into. I'll probably blog about this aspect - I saw my first Singer Sargents at the Americans in paris exhibition)
- his tutor, Carolus Duran, his tutor preached to him about the value of studying Diego Velaquez (I've not yet visited the Velaquez exhibition at the National Gallery and will be doing that next week). Other artists favoured by Duran included Hals, El Greco, Goya and Degas
I've not yet done the full search for all likely looking book but have looked at a couple.
Those who enjoy sketching and/or watercolours will find The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent by Carl Little to be a delightful read. The reproductions of the watercolours are well done and a very good size. All in all an excellent book - available as both hardback and paperback.
Anybody interested in portraits and portrait drawing would do well to try and get hold of a copy of Portrait Drawings (Dover Art Library)
A book I don't have is American Drawings and Watercolors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: John Singer Sargent. Very difficult to get hold of - has anybody read it and is it worth getting?
Natasha Wallace of the JSS Gallery provides an overview of various books about Sargent. These are the ones currently available at Amazon.
Books I still don't know I need to read comes later...... ;) Do let us know if you any recommendations for books about Sargent. Please leave a note in the comments or link to your blog post if you'd like to explain your recommendation.
John Singer Sargent Links:
These are split between websites which specialise in providing access to galleries of images and threads from other art forums where people comment on his work and/or try to reproduce it. Those wanting to participate in this project through producing a painting or sketch may find these useful.
- The John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery - a comprehensive resource compiled by Natasha Wallace. Click refresh to get new images each time this link is loaded. A link to his biography and studios in London is also included.
- the major paintings
- the chronology of work - a thumbnail index
- JSS gallery - biography
- Map of John Singer Sargent studios in London
- The Athenaeum - 723 works by JSS - you can vary the order of the list according to date and media used. Click a title and then the thumbnail to see a large and generally good quality image. The works are mostly oil paintings.
- Art Renewal - the John Singer Sargent archive. a short biography and 440 images - click through the pages to see JSS's work
- Artcyclopedia: John Singer Sargent online - JSS artwork in collections of museums and art galleries - see if there is one near where you live!
- Sargent at Harvard - a searchable database and comprehensive catalogue relating to works held by Harvard University. This includes Sargent sketchbooks - one of my particular interests
- Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - American Watercolors by Sargent
- Wikipedia - John Singer Sargent - a very insubstantial entry - needs some work!
- Craig Mullins - an account (pdf format) of Sargent's methods - these are a set of notes on Sargent's techniques using various authorative sources including Evan Charteris book on Sargent
- JSS Gallery Discussion Forum - lots of Sargent fans discussing aspects of his life, technique and works.
- Wet Canvas:
- Oil Painting Forum: Master of the Month (July 2006) - John Singer Sargent. This shows you what others have done in the past in trying to emulate his work
- Classical Art: Analyse This - JSS - Mrs Wilton Phips - a thread in which WC members try to work out what makes one painting work and what it says about technique
- Zorn, Sargent, Sorolla and Fechin pictures - images and comments from WC members
- Watercolor Studio: WIP John Singer Sargent - this is a WIP by Capricorne, a WC member, showing how he took JSS's self-portrait in oils and converted it into a watercolour painting.
- The Learning Zone: One of the finest pleinairists - John Singer Sargent - commentary offered on the watercolours of JSS
- Tite Street, Chelsea - artists studios
Nicole Caulfield has posted her first Sargent post. She's focusing on the value design and composition aspects of JSS's work.
JSS Project Links:
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