Friday, February 28, 2014

John Singer Sargent: Same Subject, Different Media

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) probably needs no introduction to Art Contrarian readers. A painting of his that I would really like to see in person is the subject of the present post.

Fumée d'Ambre Gris - 1880
It is part of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute collection, whose description of it is here. Unfortunately for me, I seldom get to Massachusetts, so my chance of viewing the painting in person seems pretty slim. Yet I once spent more than four years in not-so-far-away Albany, New York -- but that was when I was still brainwashed by modernist propaganda and thought the Clark not worth visiting, if I had been aware of it at all.

Perhaps even more embarrassing, in recent times I was unaware that Sargent created some studies for it, including a watercolor now held at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. I've visited the Gardner, but (once again!!) failed to notice it (that is, if it had actually been on display at the time).

Here it is:

Incensing the Veil - c. 1880

A rambling discourse on Sergent's painting and the substance ambergris is here, and some supporting images are here.

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