John Singer Sargent’s approach to watercolour was unconventional.
Disregarding late-nineteenth-century aesthetic standards that called for carefully delineated and composed landscapes filled with transparent washes, his confidently bold, dense strokes and loosely defined forms startled critics and fellow practitioners alike. One reviewer in England, where Sargent spent much of his adult life, called his work ‘swagger watercolours’.
For Sargent, however, the watercolours were not so much about swagger as about a new way of thinking. In watercolour as opposed to oils his vision became more personal and his works more interconnected. Presenting nearly 100 works of art, this book is the first major publication of Sargent’s watercolours in twenty years.
Each chapter highlights a different subject or theme that attracted the artist’s attention during his travels through Europe and the Middle East: sunlight on stone, figures reclining on grass, patterns of light and shadow. Insightful essays by the world’s leading experts enhance this book and introduce readers to the full sweep of Sargent’s accomplishments in the medium, in works that delight the eye as well as challenge our understanding of this prodigiously gifted artist.