Friday, May 17, 2013

Sargent at the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is hosting an exhibition of 80 Sargent paintings this spring, almost entirely watercolors. I have been to see it a couple of times and can report that it is excellent, worth going to see if you are a fan of the artist.

I admit to not having a great interest in watercolors, so going into the show, I wasn't sure what to expect.

I was struck by several things after viewing the images. Sargent approached watercolors relatively late in his career, devoting himself and his consummate technical skills toward achieving unrivaled effects for the medium. He broke many of the typical "rules" of watercolor painting, letting the paint dry and layering very opaque paint in many places.

There was hardly a dud in these collection of images, I never got the sense that Sargent had an "off" day like most of us have from time to
time. This is even more impressive considering that by most accounts, these images were never intended to be sold or shown to the public.