John Singer Sargent, Corfu: Lights and Shadows, 1909. Translucent & opaque watercolor with graphite underdrawing, 15-7/8 x 20-7/8". Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund
On view is the BMA's collection of 38 Sargent (1856—1925) watercolors, purchased as an entity from his 1909 debut exhibition in New York, combined with that of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, totalling 93 works (including nine oil paintings). The subject matter focuses on exotic foreign locales including Venice, the Alps, and the Carrara quarry in Italy; Syria, and Corfu. His deftness with color, rhythm, and light perfectly suit the medium of watercolor. Some of the humblest subjects take on a monumental quality—laundry drying on lines, a tramp, gourds. He captures the chaos and magic of the Grand Canal in Venice, and the steely gaze of a Bedouin.
You can practically smell the aromas and feel the aridity in his works. Breathe deeply.
|Ragazza che piange (Crying Girl)1960. Pencil & aluminum enamel on |
paper. 19-5/8 x 27-1/2"
Courtesy the artist
A series of sketches in the rear gallery are among the most fascinating. They depict landscapes or houses in a distant, abstract way—with a giant arrow, or defined by negative space. The tone of the show feels light, but the consistency and unique vision of this artist linger.