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Amedeo Modigliani

Italian, 1884 - 1920

Woman with a Necklace, 1917

Oil on canvas

 

(closeup)

 

Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920) was a Jewish-Italian painter and sculptor who pursued his career for the most part in France. Modigliani was born in Livorno, Italy and began his artistic studies in Italy before moving to Paris in 1906. Influenced by the artists in his circle of friends and associates, by a range of genres and movements, and by primitive art, Modigliani's oeuvre was nonetheless unique and idiosyncratic. He died in Paris of tubercular meningitis—exacerbated by a lifestyle of excess—at the age of 35.

 

Early life

 

Modigliani was born into a Jewish family in Livorno, Italy.

 

Livorno was still a relatively new city, by Italian standards, in the late nineteenth century. The city on the Tyrrhenian coast dates from around 1600, when it was transformed from a swampy village into a seaport. The Livorno that Modigliani knew was a bustling centre of commerce focused upon seafaring and shipwrighting, but its cultural history lay in being a refuge for those persecuted for their religion. His own maternal great-great-grandfather was one Solomon Garsin, a Jew who had immigrated to Livorno in the eighteenth century as a religious refugee.

 

Modigliani was the fourth child of Flaminio Modigliani and his wife, Eugenia Garsin. His father was in the money-changing business, but when the business went bankrupt, the family lived in dire poverty. In fact, Amedeo's birth saved the family from certain ruin, as, according to an ancient law, creditors could not seize the bed of a pregnant woman or a mother with a newborn child. When bailiffs entered the family home, just as Eugenia went into labour, the family protected their most valuable assets by piling them on top of the expectant mother.

 

Modigliani had a particularly close relationship with his mother, who taught her son at home until he was ten. Beset with health problems after a bout of typhoid at the age of fourteen, two years later he contracted the tuberculosis which would affect him for the rest of his life. To help him recover from his many childhood illnesses, she took him to Naples in Southern Italy, where the warmer weather was conducive to his convalescence.

 

His mother was, in many ways, instrumental in his ability to pursue art as a vocation. When he was eleven years of age, she had noted in her diary that:

 

“The child's character is still so unformed that I cannot say what I think of it. He behaves like a spoiled child, but he does not lack intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this chrysalis. Perhaps an artist?"

 

Art student years

 

Modigliani is known to have drawn and painted from a very early age, and thought himself "already a painter", his mother wrote, even before beginning formal studies. Despite her misgivings that launching him on a course of studying art would impinge upon his other studies, his mother indulged the young Modigliani's passion for the subject.

 

At the age of fourteen, while sick with the typhoid fever, he raved in his delirium that he wanted, above all else, to see the paintings in the Palazzo Pitti and the Uffizi in Florence. As Livorno's local museum only housed a sparse few paintings by the Italian Renaissance masters, the tales he had heard about the great works held in Florence intrigued him, and it was a source of considerable despair to him, in his sickened state, that he might never get the chance to view them in person. His mother promised that she would take him to Florence herself, the moment he was recovered. Not only did she fulfil this promise, but she also undertook to enroll him with the best painting master in Livorno, Guglielmo Micheli.

 

Micheli and the Macchiaioli

 

Modigliani worked in the studio of Micheli from 1898 to 1900. Here his earliest formal artistic instruction took place in an atmosphere deeply steeped in a study of the styles and themes of nineteenth-century Italian art. In his earliest Parisian work, traces of this influence, and that of his studies of Renaissance art, can still be seen: artists such as Giovanni Boldini figure just as much in this nascent work as do those of Toulouse-Lautrec.

 

Modigliani showed great promise while with Micheli, and only ceased his studies when he was forced to, by the onset of tuberculosis.

 

In 1901, whilst in Rome, Modigliani admired the work of Domenico Morelli, a painter of melodramatic Biblical studies and scenes from great literature. It is ironic that he should be so struck by Morelli, as this painter had served as an inspiration for a group of iconoclasts who went by the title, the Macchiaioli (from macchia—"dash of colour", or, more derogatively, "stain"), and Modigliani had already been exposed to the influences of the Macchiaioli. This minor, localised art movement was possessed of a need to react against the bourgeois stylings of the academic genre painters. While sympathetically connected to (and actually pre-dating) the French Impressionists, the Macchiaioli did not make the same impact upon international art culture as did the followers of Monet, and are today largely forgotten outside of Italy.

 

Modigliani's connection with the movement was through Micheli, his first art teacher. Micheli was not only a Macchiaioli himself, but had been a pupil of the famous Giovanni Fattori, a founder of the movement. Micheli's work, however, was so fashionable and the genre so commonplace that the young Modigliani reacted against it, preferring to ignore the obsession with landscape that, as with French Impressionism, characterised the movement. Micheli also tried to encourage his pupils to paint en plein air, but Modigliani never really got a taste for this style of working, sketching in cafes, but preferring to paint indoors, and especially in his own studio. Even when compelled to paint landscapes (three are known to exist), Modigliani chose a proto-Cubist palette more akin to Cézanne than to the Macchiaioli.

 

While with Micheli, Modigliani not only studied landscape, but also portraiture, still-life, and the nude. His fellow students recall that the latter was where he displayed his greatest talent, and apparently this was not an entirely academic pursuit for the teenager: when not painting nudes, he was occupied with seducing the household maid.

 

Despite his rejection of the Macchiaioli approach, Modigliani nonetheless found favour with his teacher, who referred to him as "Superman", a pet name reflecting the fact that Modigliani was not only quite adept at his art, but also that he regularly quoted from Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Fattori himself would often visit the studio, and approved of the young artist's innovations.

 

In 1902, Modigliani continued what was to be a life-long infatuation with life drawing, enrolling in the Accademia di Belle Arti (Scuola Libera di Nudo, or "Free School of Nude Studies") in Florence. A year later while still suffering from tuberculosis, he moved to Venice, where he registered to study at the Istituto di Belle Arti.

 

It is in Venice that he first smoked hashish and, rather than studying, began to spend time frequenting disreputable parts of the city. The impact of these lifestyle choices upon his developing artistic style is open to conjecture, although these choices do seem to be more than simple teenage rebellion, or the cliched hedonism and bohemianism that was almost expected of artists of the time; his pursuit of the seedier side of life appears to have roots in his appreciation of radical philosophies, such as those of Nietzsche.

 

Early literary influences

 

Having been exposed to erudite philosophical literature as a young boy under the tutelage of Isaco Garsin, his maternal grandfather, he continued to read and be influenced through his art studies by the writings of Nietzsche, Baudelaire, Carduzzi, Comte de Lautréamont, and others, and developed the belief that the only route to true creativity was through defiance and disorder.

 

Letters that he wrote from his 'sabbatical' in Capri in 1901 clearly indicate that he is being more and more influenced by the thinking of Nietzsche. In these letters, he advised friend Oscar Ghiglia,

 

“(hold sacred all) which can exalt and excite your intelligence... (and) ... seek to provoke ... and to perpetuate ... these fertile stimuli, because they can push the intelligence to its maximum creative power.”

 

The work of Lautréamont was equally influential at this time. This doomed poet's Les Chants de Maldoror became the seminal work for the Parisian Surrealists of Modigliani's generation, and the book became Modigliani's favourite to the extent that he learnt it by heart. The poetry of Lautréamont is characterised by the juxtaposition of fantastical elements, and by sadistic imagery; the fact that Modigliani was so taken by this text in his early teens gives a good indication of his developing tastes. Baudelaire and D'Annunzio similarly appealed to the young artist, with their interest in corrupted beauty, and the expression of that insight through Symbolist imagery.

 

Modigliani wrote to Ghiglia extensively from Capri, where his mother had taken him to assist in his recovery from the tuberculosis. These letters are a sounding board for the developing ideas brewing in Modigliani's mind. Ghiglia was seven years Modigliani's senior, and it is likely that it was he who showed the young man the limits of his horizons in Livorno. Like all precocious teenagers, Modigliani preferred the company of older companions, and Ghiglia's role in his adolescence was to be a sympathetic ear as he worked himself out, principally in the convoluted letters that he regularly sent, and which survive today.

 

“Dear friend

I write to pour myself out to you and to affirm myself to myself. I am the prey of great powers that surge forth and then disintegrate... A bourgeois told me today - insulted me - that I or at least my brain was lazy. It did me good. I should like such a warning every morning upon awakening: but they cannot understand us nor can they understand life...”

 

Paris

 

Arrival

 

In 1906 Modigliani moved to Paris, then the focal point of the avant-garde. In fact, his arrival at the epicentre of artistic experimentation coincided with the arrival of two other foreigners who were also to leave their marks upon the art world: Gino Severini and Juan Gris.

 

He settled in Le Bateau-Lavoir, a commune for penniless artists in Montmartre, renting himself a studio in Rue Caulaincourt. Even though this artists' quarter of Montmartre was characterised by generalised poverty, Modigliani himself presented - initially, at least - as one would expect the son of a family trying to maintain the appearances of its lost financial standing to present: his wardrobe was dapper without ostentation, and the studio he rented was appointed in a style appropriate to someone with a finely attuned taste in plush drapery and Renaissance reproductions. He soon made efforts to assume the guise of the bohemian artist, but, even in his brown corduroys, scarlet scarf and large black hat, he continued to appear as if he were slumming it, having fallen upon harder times.

 

When he first arrived in Paris, he wrote home regularly to his mother, he sketched his nudes at the Colarossi school, and he drank wine in moderation. He was at that time considered by those who knew him as a bit reserved, verging on the asocial. He is noted to have commented, upon meeting Picasso who, at the time, was wearing his trademark workmen's clothes, that even though the man was a genius, that did not excuse his uncouth appearance.

 

Transformation

 

Within a year of arriving in Paris, however, his demeanour and reputation had changed dramatically. He transformed himself from a dapper academician artist into a sort of prince of vagabonds.

 

The poet and journalist Louis Latourette, upon visiting the artist's previously well-appointed studio after his transformation, discovered the place in upheaval, the Renaissance reproductions discarded from the walls, the plush drapes in disarray. Modigliani was already an alcoholic and a drug addict by this time, and his studio reflected this. Modigliani's behaviour at this time sheds some light upon his developing style as an artist, in that the studio had become almost a sacrificial effigy for all that he resented about the academic art that had marked his life and his training up to that point.

 

Not only did he remove all the trappings of his bourgeois heritage from his studio, but he also set about destroying practically all of his own early work. He explained this extraordinary course of actions to his astonished neighbours thus:

“Childish baubles, done when I was a dirty bourgeois."

 

The motivation for this violent rejection of his earlier self is the subject of considerable speculation. The self-destructive tendencies may have stemmed from his tuberculosis and the knowledge (or presumption) that the disease had essentially marked him for an early death; within the artists' quarter, many faced the same sentence, and the typical response was to set about enjoying life while it lasted, principally by indulging in self-destructive actions. For Modigliani such behavior may have been a response to a lack of recognition; it is known that he sought the company of other alcoholic artists such as Utrillo and Soutine, seeking acceptance and validation for his work from his colleagues.

 

Modigliani's behavior stood out even in these Bohemian surroundings: he carried on frequent affairs, drank heavily, and used absinthe and hashish. While drunk he would sometimes strip himself naked at social gatherings. He became the epitome of the tragic artist, creating a posthumous legend almost as well-known as that of Vincent van Gogh.

 

During the 1920s, in the wake of Modigliani's career and spurred on by comments by Andre Salmon crediting hashish and absinthe with the genesis of Modigliani's style, many hopefuls tried to emulate his 'success' by embarking on a path of substance abuse and bohemian excess. Salmon claimed—erroneously—that whereas Modigliani was a totally pedestrian artist when sober,

 

“...from the day that he abandoned himself to certain forms of debauchery, an unexpected light came upon him, transforming his art. From that day on, he became one who must be counted among the masters of living art.”

 

While this propaganda served as a rallying cry to those with a romantic longing to be a tragic, doomed artist, these strategies did not produce unique artistic insights or techniques in those who did not already have them.

 

In fact, art historians suggest that it is entirely possible for Modigliani to have achieved even greater artistic heights had he not been immured in, and destroyed by, his own self-indulgences. We can only speculate what he might have accomplished had he emerged intact from his self-destructive explorations.

 

Output

 

During his early years in Paris, Modigliani worked at a furious pace. He was constantly sketching, making as many as a hundred drawings a day. However, many of his works were lost - destroyed by him as inferior, left behind in his frequent changes of address, or given to girlfriends who did not keep them.

 

He was first influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but around 1907 he became fascinated with the work of Paul Cézanne. Eventually he developed his own unique style, one that cannot be adequately categorized with other artists.

 

He met the first serious love of his life, Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, in 1910, when he was 26. They had studios in the same building, and although 21-year-old Anna was recently married, they began an affair. Tall (Modigliani was only 5 foot 5 inches) with dark hair (like Modigliani's), pale skin and grey-green eyes, she embodied Modigliani's aesthetic ideal and the pair became engrossed in each other. After a year, however, Anna returned to her husband.

 

Experiments with sculpture

 

In 1909, Modigliani returned home to Livorno, sickly and tired from his wild lifestyle. Soon he was back in Paris, this time renting a studio in Montparnasse. He originally saw himself as a sculptor rather than a painter, and was encouraged to continue after Paul Guillaume, an ambitious young art dealer, took an interest in his work and introduced him to sculptor Constantin Brancusi.

 

Although a series of Modigliani's sculptures were exhibited in the Salon d'Automne of 1912, he abruptly abandoned sculpting and focused solely on his painting.

 

Question of influences

 

In Modigliani's art, there is evidence of the influence of primitive art from Africa and Cambodia which he may have seen in the Musée de l'Homme, but his stylisations are just as likely to have been the result of his being surrounded by Mediaeval sculpture during his studies in Northern Italy (there is no recorded information from Modigliani himself, as there is with Picasso and others, to confirm the contention that he was influenced by either ethnic or any other kind of sculpture). A possible interest in African tribal masks seems to be evident in his portraits. In both his painting and sculpture, the sitters' faces resemble ancient Egyptian painting in their flat and masklike appearance, with distinctive almond eyes, pursed mouths, twisted noses, and elongated necks. However these same chacteristics are shared by Medieval European sculpture and painting.

 

Modigliani painted a series of portraits of contemporary artists and friends in Montparnasse: Chaim Soutine, Moise Kisling, Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Marie "Marevna" Vorobyev-Stebeslka, Juan Gris, Max Jacob, Blaise Cendrars, and Jean Cocteau, all sat for stylized renditions.

 

At the outset of World War I, Modigliani tried to enlist in the army but was refused because of his poor health.

 

The war years

 

Known as Modì, which roughly translates as 'morbid' or 'moribund', by many Parisians, but as Dedo to his family and friends, Modigliani was a handsome man, and attracted much female attention.

 

Women came and went until Beatrice Hastings entered his life. She stayed with him for almost two years, was the subject for several of his portraits, including Madame Pompadour, and the object of much of his drunken wrath.

 

When the British painter Nina Hamnett arrived in Montparnasse in 1914, on her first evening there the smiling man at the next table in the café introduced himself as Modigliani; painter and Jew. They became great friends.

 

In 1916, Modigliani befriended the Polish poet and art dealer Leopold Zborovski and his wife Anna.

 

Jeanne Hébuterne

 

The following summer, the Russian sculptor Chana Orloff introduced him to a beautiful 19-year-old art student named Jeanne Hébuterne who had posed for Foujita. From a conservative bourgeois background, Hébuterne was renounced by her devout Roman Catholic family for her liaison with the painter, whom they saw as little more than a debauched derelict, and, worse yet, a Jew. Despite her family's objections, soon they were living together, and although Hébuterne was the love of his life, their public scenes became more renowned than Modigliani's individual drunken exhibitions.

 

On December 3, 1917, Modigliani's first one-man exhibition opened at the Berthe Weill Gallery. The chief of the Paris police was scandalized by Modigliani's nudes and forced him to close the exhibition within a few hours after its opening.

 

After he and Hébuterne moved to Nice, she became pregnant and on November 29, 1918 gave birth to a daughter whom they named Jeanne (1918-1984).

 

Nice

 

During a trip to Nice, conceived and organized by Leopold Zborovski, Modigliani, Tsuguharu Foujita and other artists tried to sell their works to rich tourists. Modigliani managed to sell a few pictures but only for a few francs each. Despite this, during this time he produced most of the paintings that later became his most popular and valued works.

 

During his lifetime he sold a number of his works, but never for any great amount of money. What funds he did receive soon vanished for his habits.

 

In May of 1919 he returned to Paris, where, with Hébuterne and their daughter, he rented an apartment in the rue de la Grande Chaumière. While there, both Jeanne Hébuterne and Amedeo Modigliani painted portraits of each other, and of themselves.

 

Last days

 

Although he continued to paint, Modigliani's health was deteriorating rapidly, and his alcohol-induced blackouts became more frequent.

 

In 1920, after not hearing from him for several days, his downstairs neighbor checked on the family and found Modigliani in bed delirious and holding onto Hébuterne who was nearly nine months pregnant. They summoned a doctor, but little could be done because Modigliani was dying of the then-incurable disease tubercular meningitis.

 

Modigliani died on January 24, 1920. There was an enormous funeral, attended by many from the artistic communities in Montmartre and Montparnasse.

 

Hébuterne was taken to her parents' home, where, inconsolable, she threw herself out of a fifth-floor window two days after Modigliani's death, killing herself and her unborn child. Modigliani was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Hébuterne was buried at the Cimetière de Bagneux near Paris, and it was not until 1930 that her embittered family allowed her body to be moved to rest beside Modigliani.

 

Modigliani died penniless and destitute—managing only one solo exhibition in his life and giving his work away in exchange for meals in restaurants. Had he lived through the 1920s when American buyers flooded Paris, his fortunes might well have changed. Since his death his reputation has soared. Nine novels, a play, a documentary and three feature films have been devoted to his life.

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: feminine beauty

 

Description: feminine beauty,

art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography) portraying the essential beauty of women;

expressing femininity through color, composition, lighting, feelings, mood, style;

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Portrait of Madame X' (1884 Salon @29), cropped to top half

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait; orig'l size 234.95 x 109.86 cm (92.5 x 43.3 in)

  

© 2010-2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

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CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

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ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

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LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

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CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

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SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

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BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

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INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

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STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

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VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

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FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

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CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

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FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: feminine beauty

 

Description: feminine beauty,

art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography) portraying the essential beauty of women;

expressing femininity through color, composition, lighting, feelings, mood, style;

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Portrait of Madame X' (1884 Salon @29), cropped to top third

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, landscape; orig'l size 234.95 x 109.86 cm (92.5 x 43.3 in)

  

© 2010-2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

  

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: feminine beauty

 

Description: feminine beauty,

art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography) portraying the essential beauty of women;

expressing femininity through color, composition, lighting, feelings, mood, style;

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Portrait of Madame X' (1884 Salon @29), uncropped

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait; orig'l size 234.95 x 109.86 cm (92.5 x 43.3 in)

  

© 2010-2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, cropped to top half

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, landscape

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: feminine beauty

 

Description: feminine beauty,

art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography) portraying the essential beauty of women;

expressing femininity through color, composition, lighting, feelings, mood, style;

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Portrait of Madame X' (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29), uncropped, brown side glow

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait; orig'l size 234.95 x 109.86 cm (92.5 x 43.3 in)

  

© 2010-2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped, black background with orange/green light from tint in painting

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped, black background with lantern glow

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, landscape

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped, orange-green background from tint in painting + yellow lantern glow

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, landscape

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped, orange-green background from tint in painting + yellow lantern glow

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped, black background with lantern glow

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped, black background with orange/green light from tint in painting

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, landscape

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: Masters art

 

Description: art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography, architectural) throughout human history, from all cultures + styles

 

hand-picked not for just art history's sake but for aesthetic / emotional / spiritual / sensual / socio-political...cultural effect / influence; thus proving human genius at its best ; )

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (1877 Royal Aca. @31), girls aglow with lanterns in typical magical enchanting British garden, uncropped

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, portrait

  

© 2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

---------------------------

LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

---------------------------

BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

---------------------------

INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

---------------------------

STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

---------------------------

VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

---------------------------

FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

---------------------------

CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

---------------------------

FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

---------------------------

QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

---------------------------

LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle

 

The Halland Collection, 316.

---

The Ara Pacis Augustae (Latin, "Altar of Augustan Peace"; commonly shortened to Ara Pacis) is an altar in Rome dedicated to Pax, the Roman goddess of Peace. The monument was commissioned by the Roman Senate on July 4, 13 BC to honor the return of Augustus to Rome after three years in Hispania and Gaul, and consecrated on January 30, 9 BC. Originally located on the northern outskirts of Rome, a Roman mile from the boundary of the pomerium on the west side of the Via Flaminia it stood in the northeastern corner of the Campus Martius, the former flood plain of the Tiber River and gradually became buried under 4 metres (13 ft) of silt deposits. It was reassembled in its current location, now the Museum of the Ara Pacis, in 1938.

 

The altar reflects the Augustan vision of Roman civil religion. The lower register of its frieze depicts vegetal work meant to communicate the abundance and prosperity of the Roman Peace (Latin: Pax Augusta), while the monument as a whole serves a civic ritual function whilst simultaneously operating as propaganda for Augustus and his regime, easing notions of autocracy and dynastic succession that might otherwise be unpalatable to traditional Roman culture.

 

The monument consists of a traditional open-air altar at its center surrounded by precinct walls which are pierced on the eastern and western ends (so called today because of the modern layout) by openings and elaborately and finely sculpted entirely in Luna marble.

 

Within the enclosing precinct walls, the altar itself was carved with images illustrating the lex aria, the law governing the ritual performed at the altar. The sacrificial procession depicts animals being led to sacrifice by figures carved in a Republican style similar to the so-called "Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus," in sharp contrast with the style on the exterior of the precinct walls. What remains of the altar is otherwise fragmentary, but it appears to have been largely functional with less emphasis on art and decoration.

 

The interior of the precinct walls are carved with bucrania, ox skulls, from which carved garlands hang. The garlands bear fruits from various types of plants, all displayed on a single garland as allegorical representations of plenty and abundance. The bucrania in turn evoke the idea of sacrificial piety, appropriate motifs for the interior of the altar precinct.[5] The lower register of the interior walls imitate the appearance of traditionally wooden altar precincts, which were meant to bring to mind other such altars in Rome and the tradition of constructing altars at the boundary of the city's pomerium.

 

The exterior walls of the Ara Pacis are divided between allegorical and pseudo-historical relief panels on the upper register while the lower register is compared of scenes of nature: harmonic, intertwined vines that contain wildlife and connote nature under control. The upper register of the northern and southern walls depict scenes of the emperor, his family, and members of the regime in the act of processing to or performing a sacrifice. Various togate figures are shown with their heads covered (capite velato), signifying their role as both priests and sacrificiants. Other figures wear laurel crowns, traditional Roman symbols of victory. Members of individual priestly colleges are depicted in traditional garb appropriate to their office, while lictors can be identified by their iconographic fasces. Women and children are also included among the procession; the depiction of children in Roman sculpture would have been novel at the time of the Altar's construction, evoking themes of moral and familial piety, as well as easing concerns over dynastic intentions while simultaneously introducing potential heirs to the public eye.

 

The western and eastern walls are both pierced by entryways to the altar, although the interior would only have been accessed by a stairway on the western side. The entryways were flanked by panels depicting allegorical or mythological scenes evocative of peace, piety and tradition. On the eastern wall, panels depicted the seated figures of Roma and Pax, while the western side depicts the discovery of the twins and she-wolf and the sacrifice of a figure traditionally identified as Aeneas, but increasingly believed to be Rome's second king, Numa Pompilius. The identity of these various figures has been a point of some controversy over the years, relying heavily on interpretation of fragmentary remains, discussed below.

 

The sculpture of the Ara Pacis is primarily symbolic rather than decorative, and its iconography has several levels of significance.[8] Studies of the Ara Pacis and similar public Roman monuments traditionally address the potent political symbolism of their decorative programs, and their emphasis and promulgation of dynastic and other imperial policies; they are usually studied as a form of imperial propaganda. The Ara Pacis is seen to embody without conscious effort the deep-rooted ideological connections among cosmic sovereignty, military force, and fertility that were first outlined by Georges Dumézil, connections which are attested in early Roman culture and more broadly in the substructure of Indo-European culture at large. Peter Holliday suggested that the Altar's imagery of the Golden Age, usually discussed as mere poetic allusion, appealed to a significant component of the Roman populace. The program of the Ara Pacis addressed this group's very real fears of cyclical history, and promised that the rule of Augustus would avert the cataclysmic destruction of the world predicted by contemporary models of historical thought.

 

The East Wall contains a badly preserved scene of a female warrior (bellatrix), possibly Roma, apparently sitting on a pile of weapons confiscated from the enemy, thus forcing peace upon them by rendering them unable to make war. This scene has been reconstructed, based on coins that depict such a seated Roma. When the monument was being reconstructed at its present site, Edmund Buchner and other scholars sketched what the panel may have looked like. This interpretation, although widely accepted, can not be proved correct, as so little of the original panel survives.

 

The other panel is more controversial in its subject, but far better preserved. A goddess sits amid a scene of fertility and prosperity with twins on her lap. Scholars have variously suggested that the goddess is Italia, Tellus (Earth), Venus, and Peace, although other views also circulate. Due to the widespread depiction around the sculpture of scenes of peace, and because the Altar is named for "peace", the favoured conclusion is that the goddess is Pax.

 

The West Wall also contains two panels. The fragmentary "Lupercal Panel" apparently preserves the moment when Romulus and Remus were discovered by Faustulus the shepherd, while Mars looks on. Again this panel is a modern drawing without much evidence. Marble fragments of the tree and the head and shoulder of Mars (if it is Mars) and part of a second individual (thought to be Faustulus) survive, but the addition of the she-wolf, Romulus, and Remus is entirely speculative.

 

The better preserved scene depicts the sacrifice of a pig (the standard sacrifice when Romans made a peace treaty) by an old priest and two attendants. In 1907, this scene was identified by Johannes Sieveking as the moment when Aeneas, newly arrived in Italy, sacrificed a sow and her 30 piglets to Juno, as told by Virgil and others, even though the scene differs greatly from Vergil's description. In the 1960s, Stephan Weinstock challenged this identification (and the very identity of the entire monument), citing numerous discrepancies that Sieveking and his followers had failed to notice between Vergil's version and the panel.[16] Subsequently, the suggestion was made that the scene shows Numa Pompilius, the Roman king associated with Peace and the Gates of Janus. Paul Rehak later published an article with this proposal, confirmed in a chapter of his posthumous book. This theory has won over many scholars, despite considerable initial resistance.

 

The long friezes of the Ara Pacis (the North and South Walls) contain figures advancing towards the West, who participate in a state of thanksgiving to celebrate the Peace created by Augustus. These figures fall into four categories: lictors (men carrying fasces, bodyguards of magistrates); priests (three of the four major collegia – Pontifices, Septemviri, and Quindecimviri): women and children (generally from the imperial family, represented in portraiture); and attendants (a few anonymous figures necessary for religious purposes).

 

In addition there are two or three non-Roman children, who may be guests (or hostages) in Rome. Their identification by their non-Roman costume and their participation in the ceremony advertises to all that Rome is the centre of the world, and that other nations send their young to Rome to learn Roman ways, so great is Rome's reputation. The ceremony took place in the summer of 13 BC, but not necessarily on 4 July, when the Senate voted to build the Ara Pacis.

 

The north wall has about 46 extant or partially extant figures. The first two foreground figures are lictors, carrying fasces (bundles of rods symbolizing Roman authority). The next set of figures consists of priests from the college of the Septemviri epulones, so identified by an incense box they carry with special symbols. One member of this college is missing in a gap.

 

After them follows the collegium of the quindecimviri sacris faciundis, also identified by the incense box carried by a public slave among them. Although the name suggests this college has exactly fifteen members, the size of the college has grown to 23, including Augustus and Agrippa, who appear on the South Frieze. The other twenty-one members are present here. Two very badly damaged figures in the middle are split by a gap. From photos, the gap appears to affect a single figure, but as Koeppel, Conlin, and Stern have proven, in-site examination reveals that one is a foreground and the other a background figure.

 

The last portion of the North Frieze consists of members of the imperial family. Many scholars used to identify the veiled, leading figure as Julia, daughter of Augustus, but since Julia appears on the South Frieze, it is more likely that this figure is Octavia Minor. Other figures in the entourage might include Marcella (a daughter of Octavia), Iullus Antonius (a son of Mark Antony), and two boys and a girl of the imperial family.

 

In 1894, and again in 1902 and 1903, Eugen Petersen suggested that Lucius Caesar appears with Agrippa, dressed in a "Trojan" costume for the Troy Game held in 13 BC (see below). Many scholars, realizing by 1935 that Lucius was too young to be the boy beside Agrippa, preferred to identify him as Gaius. They named the smallest child on the North Frieze "Lucius," even though he is a mere toddler (Lucius was four in 13 BC). Some scholars assumed this boy also was a participant in the Troy Games, although he is certainly too young (six or seven was the minimum age). If this toddler were Lucius, he would be too young and in the wrong costume for the Troy Games. The best guess is that he is a Germanic tribal prince, but he is certainly not a dressed as a Trojan. As Charles Brian Rose has noted, "The variable value of the Eastern costume and the uneasy interaction of Trojan and Parthian iconography can make it difficult to determine whether one is viewing the founders of the Romans or their fiercest opponents."

 

The youth wearing Hellenistic Greek clothing suited to a Hellenistic prince has been identified as Gaius in the guise of a camillus, an adolescent attendant of the Flamen Dialis. The Gaius identification is best supported by his size, however an additional boy in Roman dress who has a bulla (but has lost his head!) is also the right size, and therefore a better guess. For Gaius to appear in public without his bulla would invite the evil eye. This same figure in Hellenistic dress has also been interpreted as Ptolemy of Mauretania representing Africa, along with the German boy (Europe) and the Parthian prince (Asia). A foreign prince would not wear a bulla.

 

The South Wall has seen a great deal of scholarship and the greatest number of academic debates. Unlike the North Wall, where most of the heads are new (not authentic ancient heads, but modern creations), the heads of the figures on the South Wall are mostly original. Some half dozen figures are recognizable from looking at other surviving statues of members of the imperial family. Nevertheless, much debate has taken place over many of these figures, including Augustus, Agrippa, Tiberius, Julia, and Antonia.

 

The figure of Augustus was not discovered until the 1903 excavation, and his head was damaged by the cornerstone of the Renaissance palazzo built on top of the original Ara Pacis site. Although he was identified correctly in 1903, Petersen, Strong, and Stuart-Jones initially saw the figure as the rex sacrorum. Today Augustus is better recognized by his hair style than his face.

 

In the absence of Augustus from the panel, early scholars debated whether this figure was Augustus or Agrippa or Lepidus. In 1907, Sieveking proposed that this figure was Lepidus, the Pontifex Maximus at the time. Sieveking later reversed his position with a series of peculiar suggestions. In 1926, Loewy compared the Louvre Agrippa of the Agrippa in Copenhagen (and elsewhere) to the Ara Pacis in order to demonstrate iconographical similarity. Aside from a very small minority of scholars (most vehemently defensive of Lepidus in Rom. Mitt in the 1930s was Ludwig Curtius), the rest of the academy concluded that this figure is Agrippa. Ryberg's 1949 article gave further weight to that conclusion.

 

Many scholars continue to see the Julia figure as Livia, having reasoned that Livia has to be on the Ara Pacis. Indeed, Livia does appear somewhere (her exclusion is unlikely), but by 13 BC Julia had politically eclipsed Livia, as has been understood and explained by many scholars. The identification dates back to Milani in 1891. Furthermore, Livia has no bond to Agrippa, whereas Julia was his wife and expected to be the unofficial empress of Rome for decades, during and beyond Augustus' lifetime. Julia also better personified Augustus' new pro-natalism program, having already given birth to four surviving children. Nevertheless, a majority of scholars in 2000 preferred to see this figure as Livia.

 

The Tiberius figure was identified as such by Milani, an identification that was rarely questioned until the 1940s. Moretti, in making the glass museum for the Ara Pacis at Mussolini's command, guessed that the two consuls (Tiberius and Varus) of 13 flank Augustus, so he saw this figure as M. Valerius Messalla. V.H. von Poulsen and Toynbee proposed Iullus Antonius. But as has been well established, Augustus is flanked by priests, and this figure is Tiberius. Boschung and Bonanno have both matched the face to early period Tiberius statuary.

 

In relation to Antonia, Drusus, and Germanicus, H. Dütschke proposed in 1880 the correct identity for Antonia and Drusus, but incorrectly saw the toddler as Claudius. A. von Domaszewski amended this family identification and correctly saw the child as Germanicus. He also suggested that the Ara Pacis is arranged in family groups. He also correctly determined that the two-year-old child could be only Germancius, whose exact birth on 24 May 15 BC is known. This helps prove that the ceremony is an event in 13, although a few scholars continued to argue the ceremony was that of 9 BC (until definitive proof in favor of 13 came out in 1939).

 

In relation to the Domitii Ahenobarbi, von Domaszewski also proposed in the same 1903 article that the last family on the South Wall is that of the father of the emperor Nero (born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus). This identification remains widespread today. Pollini provides the best summary of this viewpoint in his article, Ahenobarbi, Appuleii and Some Others on the Ara Pacis, where he points out that the writer Suetonius specifically mentions that Nero's father went "to the East on the staff of the young Gaius Caesar". As this campaign is known to have begun in 2 BC, it means that Gnaeus must have been of mature age by that time, therefore requiring a birth year of at least 17 BC, which would, in turn, make him sufficiently old to be the boy on the Ara Pacis. Pollini also reasons that the delay in Gnaeus' career (only reaching the consulship in 32 AD) resulted from his documented unpleasant character and points out that the careers of other members of the family with undesirable traits also suffered similar delays, notably Augustus' youngest grandson, Agrippa Postumus, who had no career, and Germanicus' brother, the later emperor, Claudius, whose career started late. However, there are some dissenters from this theory. Stern claims that these figures cannot possibly be the Domitii Ahenobarbi, on the basis of the belief that Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, whom von Domaszewski saw as the boy of the family, was born after the monument's completion. Syme had also argued that Gnaeus was born after the monument's completion, but accepted the identification of the Ahenobarbus family, preferring to identify the boy as an otherwise unknown elder brother and the girl figure as an otherwise unknown elder sister of Gnaeus—both of whom died young. Syme also proved somewhat unintentionally, based on the inscription ILS 6095 that Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus was governor of Africa in 13 BC and could not be in Rome for the Ara Pacis ceremony.

 

Starting in 1894, Eugen Petersen suggested that Lucius Caesar appears with Agrippa, dressed in a "Trojan" costume for the equestrian event called the Troy Game, which was held in 13 BC for the dedication of the Theater of Marcellus. This theory won universal acceptance for many decades, even though the evidence is overwhelmingly against. The only early challenge was slight: Several scholars, noting the size and age of the boy beside Agrippa, preferred to identify him as Gaius, an opinion that prevailed by 1935. The boy is clearly not a Roman, given his clothing, lack of bulla, and hair. So ingrained was Petersen's theory, however, that when the distinguished scholar Erika Simon (1968) suggested the boy is a barbarian, she was subjected to intense criticism until she retreated (e.g. Mario Torelli (1982, 60 n. 72), once called her opinion "perfect nonsense"). Subsequently, led by Charles Brian Rose, scholars have realized Petersen was wrong: the boy is a foreign prince. Stern adds the costume is wrong for a Trojan (no Phrygian hat) and no bulla – worn by all Roman boys as protection from the evil eye. Many others have contributed to disprove Petersen's theory.

In 1568 first fragmentary sculptures were rediscovered beneath Palazzo Peretti in Lucina (a.k.a. Palazzo Fano-Almagià), right next to the basilica San Lorenzo in Lucina, close to "Via del Corso", and have found their way to the Villa Medici, the Vatican, the Uffizi and the Louvre.

In 1859 further sculptural fragments were found in the same area under Teatro Olimpia, part of the Peretti Palace in via in Lucina, close to the Italian Parliament Building, and the sculptures were recognized as having belonged to the same monument. In 1903, well after Friedrich von Duhn had recognized that the reliefs belonged to the Ara Pacis (1879–81), known from Augustus' memoir, a request was sent to the Ministry of Public Education to continue the excavations. Their success was made possible by the generosity of Edoardo Almagià, who, as well as giving his permission for the exploration, donated in advance whatever should be discovered underneath the palace and made an ongoing financial contribution to the expenses of the excavation; by July of that year, it became clear that the conditions were extremely difficult and that the stability of Teatro Olimpia might well be compromised; when about half the monument had been examined and 53 fragments recovered, the excavation was called to a halt.

In 1909 it was decided that several buildings closely surrounding Mausoleum of Augustus were to be destroyed to bring the mausoleum back to view.[46]

Between 1918 and 1921 the President of the Piedmontese Society of Archaeology and Fine Arts, Oreste Mattirolo, for the first time suggested that all fragments were to be collected and joined to rebuild the altar.

In 1932 demolition of buildings surrounding the mausoleum, decided in 1909, started, together with may other demolitions carried on in those years in the city.

In February 1937, the Italian Cabinet decreed that for the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Augustus, the excavations should recommence, using the most advanced technology. Seventy cubic metres of ground under what was by then the Cinema Nuovo Olimpia were frozen, whilst the altar was extracted.

The fragments, although not complete, were collected and joined together to rebuild the Ara; due to short time available (job had to be completed before 23 September 1938, last day of Augustean 2000th anniversary), few fragments available and poor historical sources to refer to for restoration (basically a couple of ancient Roman coins), the reconstruction had to be performed with the help of the Italian artist Odoardo Ferretti.

 

In 1938 the finally reconstructed Ara was placed near the Mausoleum of Augustus, and a big pavilion was built around it by architect Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo as part of Benito Mussolini's attempt to create an ancient Roman "theme park" to glorify Fascist Italy. Several dozens of the buildings surrounding the Mausoleum were leveled to free up space around the monument. This led to a great number of complaints from the locals and the surrounding city, starting a long series of arguments and criticisms of the Ara Pacis project. These arguments are ongoing despite having the original pavilion replaced by a new one in 2006, known as "Ara Pacis museum".

 

The historic Fascist style building around the Altar, locally known as "teca del Morpurgo", was pulled down in 2006, and replaced by a glass and steel structure in modern style, designed by architect Richard Meier. The new cover building, which has been named "Ara Pacis museum", now stands on the same site as Mussolini's structure. This new structure is much bigger than previous one and it is divided in multiple rooms and sections besides the main one containing the altar.

 

Meier's building construction caused new arguments and criticism, after the ones which accompanied the first building construction, both from Rome inhabitants and stranger observers, probably due both to political memory tied to the pre-existent pavilion and to visual impact of the new pavilion, which in opinion of many is in great contrast with surrounding historical buildings.

 

Nicolai Ouroussoff, of the New York Times called the building “a contemporary expression of what can happen when an architect fetishizes his own style out of a sense of self-aggrandizement. Absurdly overscale, it seems indifferent to the naked beauty of the dense and richly textured city around it.”[49] The presiding right-wing mayor Gianni Alemanno, backed since July 2008 by culture undersecretary Francesco Maria Giro said he would tear down the new structure. Mayor Alemanno has since changed his stance on the building and has agreed with Mr. Meier to modifications including drastically reducing the height of the wall between an open-air space outside the museum and a busy road along the Tiber river. The city plans to build a wide pedestrian area along the river and run the road underneath it. "It's an improvement," says Meier, adding that "the reason that wall was there has to do with traffic and noise. Once that is eliminated, the idea of opening the piazza to the river is a good one." The mayor’s office said Alemanno hopes to complete the project before the end of his term in 2013 (Wikipedia).

 

INGRES, Jean-Auguste-Dominique.

(b. 1780, Montauban, d. 1867, Paris).

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Madame Moitessier.

1856.

Oil on canvas, 120 x 92 cm.

National Gallery, London.

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It is often said that while Delacroix was the great proponent of French Romanticism, his older contemporary Ingres was the champion of the classical tradition: obsessed with Raphael and antiquity, upholder of 'drawing' versus 'colour'. Real life being less tidy, however, we find that Delacroix was a more calculating artist than the hyper-emotional Ingres, who did not hesitate to break academic rules for expressive ends. Both painted subjects from literature and history, and his response to the female nude is as charged with erotic longing and scarcely sublimated violence as Delacroix's. Nor did Ingres invariably emulate Raphael and Poussin. Throughout his long career he tried to match style to subject, looking in turn to Greek vase painting, to the Early Renaissance, even to the Dutch seventeenth-century painters of everyday life..

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It is, however, true that drawing was of primary importance to him. Forced to support himself and his wife in Rome in 1814 by drawing the English tourists who flocked back to the city liberated from French rule, he developed a wonderfully spare, yet lively and descriptive line. Although he despised portraiture as a lower form of art, like his teacher David Ingres came to excel in it. Few of his painted portraits are more sumptuous than Madame Moitessier, begun in 1847 but completed only in 1856 when the artist, as he tells us in his signature, was 76..

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He had originally refused to paint this wealthy banker's wife, but when he met her he was so captivated by her beauty that he agreed, asking her to bring her small daughter, 'la charmante Catherine', whose head is visible under her mother's arm in a preparatory drawing in the Ingres Museum in Montauban. The doubtless bored and wriggling child was soon banished as Ingres wrestled with the picture, requiring long hours of immobility from his model. The sitter's dress was changed more than once. Ingres is recorded as still working on the portrait in 1847. The death of his wife in 1849 left him in despair and unable to paint for many months. In 1851 he began sittings anew and completed a standing likeness of Inès Moitessier in black (now in Washington). He returned to the seated version in 1852..

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When he had finished four years later the sitter was 35. Ageless like a goddess with her Grecian profile impossibly reflected in a mirror parallel to the back of her head but dressed with Second Empire opulence in flowered chintz, Madame Moitessier exemplifies the ambiguities of Ingres's art. The firm contour of her shoulders, arms and face defines flesh perfectly rounded - though barely modelled - and as poreless, smooth and luminous as polished alabaster, yet paradoxically soft to the touch. In contrast to the resiliently buxom horsehair settee, it arouses fantasies and fears of bruising. The pose, with head resting against the right forefinger, derives from an ancient wall painting and signifies as Ingres must have known matronly modesty. But 'classicising' devices are offset by the minutely realistic transcription of the surfaces of fabrics, the fashionable parure of jewels, ormolu frames, Oriental porcelain. The mixture of the general with the particular, timeless grandeur with bourgeois ostentation, languor with pictorial rigour, is unique to Ingres and far from bloodlessly Neo-classical..

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--- Keywords: --------------.

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Author: INGRES, Jean-Auguste-Dominique.

Title: Madame Moitessier.

Form: painting.

Time-line: 1801-1850.

School: French.

Type: portrait.

 

Theme: iSphere wallpaper

 

Subject: feminine beauty

 

Description: feminine beauty,

art (painting, drawing, sculpting, photography) portraying the essential beauty of women;

expressing femininity through color, composition, lighting, feelings, mood, style;

 

art work from antiquity to modern times;

all art is by original artists, yet reformatted + designed to fit wallpapers by the GraphicJungle

 

art work:

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925 @69 Am. realist painter, leading portraitist) 'Portrait of Madame X' (1884 Salon @29), uncropped

 

Format: 10124 x 768 pixels (iPad HD), 150dpi, RGB, landscape; brown sides, orig'l size 234.95 x 109.86 cm (92.5 x 43.3 in)

  

© 2010-2011

  

John Singer Sargent History

======================

BIRTH:

John Singer Sargent

born Florence, Italy 1856 Jan 12, d. 1925 Apr 14 @69 in London; buried in Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking, Surrey, UK

 

American, leading portrait painter of his generation

 

---------------------------

CHILDHOOD:

 

dad: FitzWilliam, eye surgeon, Philadelphia

 

traveling influence:

older sisters dies @2, family leaves country to recover yet remains nomadic expatriates forever, following the seasons to the mountains + sea in France / Italy / Germany / Switzerland

 

JSS was born on this trip in Florence

his next sister Mary (named after mom) is born a yr later, forcing dad to quit U.S. job + join family in Italy

 

they live modestly on small inheritance / savings, generally avoided society + Americans (except artists)

 

another 4 kids were born, 2 die in childhood, hence 4 grow up

  

---------------------------

ADULTHOOD

 

JSS reached total fame at 40!

 

he then painted a little less (portraits), traveled more

when he painted 'An Interior in Venice' (1900, of the Curtis family in their Palazzo Barbaro) whose looseness ('smudge everywhere') (22 year older) Whistler did not approve of (though hailed by critics)

(Whistler was Brit. but Am. born, the opposite of JSS, even in style, as Whistler was a moral allusionist, lead in credo "art for art's sake" though similarly influenced by music in painting, calling his works 'arrangements' / 'harmonies' / 'nocturnes')

 

1907 @51 shuts studio!

but did some landscapes

  

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LOVE:

 

life-long bachelor

friends-family-man

extremely private

early Playboy as sex life 'was notorious in Paris, and in Venice, positively scandalous. He was a frenzied bugger.' (quote from Jacques-Émile Blanche, painter + early sitter)

homosexual tendencies

affair with model Louise Burckhardt (portrait 1882 @27)

  

---------------------------

CHARACTER:

 

- rambunctious child

"willful, curious, determined and strong" (after mother)

yet shy, generous, modest (after father)

- later over-confident

- paunchy physique (depicted + popularized by Brit. Cartoonist Max Beerbohm in 1900s)

  

---------------------------

SCHOOL

 

- initially failed due to family's itinerant life-style

- 1st lessons @13! (watercolor) from Carl Welsch (German landscape painter)

- quickly grows into highly literate / cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art / music / literature, fluent in French / Italian / German

 

- 2nd lessons, 1874 @18 JSS passed rigorous admission exam on 1st attempt! @ École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (France's premier art school); learned anatomy + perspective; gained Silver prize

 

- 3rd lessons, 1874-1878 @18-22, not at Academy of Florence as they were re-organizing, but under Carolus-Duran (bold technique + modern teaching methods, anti-academic; alla prima or direct-to-canvas method dev. by Velázquez) in Paris; other Americans artists (Weir / Eakins) studied the traditional style of Jean Léon Gérôme

 

- 4th lessons: self-study: drawing in museums + painting in studio shared with James Carroll Beckwith (valuable friend + Sargent's primary connection with Am. artists abroad)

 

- 5th lessons: Léon Bonnat

 

ideal artist who traveled the world to learn, as in the Renaissance Men:

Venice to Tyrol / Corfu / Middle East / Montana / Maine / Florida

  

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BRITAIN:

 

since 1881, long before his decommission in France with Mme X in 1884, he has started sending the British Royal Academy paintings for exhibition; by 1886, 2 years after the X scandal, he moved to London @31, thanks to numerous portrait commissions, encouraged the entire time by friend Henry James (writer).

  

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INFLUENCED BY:

 

mom who early on encouraged him to visit Europe + museums + drawing excursions

mom was fine amateur artist

dad was skilled medical illustrator

 

initial subject (13-18): landscapes

initially JSS copied ships from The Illustrated London News; dad hoped it would lead JSS to join navy

 

later (18 onwards): portraits

portrait painting was easier to get commissioned for + to enter Salons than harder though more prestigious history paintings; livelihood was of essence as usual

 

Carolus-Duran (1874-78 @18-22)

Léon Bonnat

Diego Velázquez (1879) (alla prima method); JSS was passionately absorbed by Velazquez + Spanish music/dance…re-awakened his own talent for music, acting as skillful accompanist to pros + amateurs…expressed in El Jaleo (1882 @27)

 

friendship with Paul César Helleu allowed him to meet Degas / Rodin (1884) / Monet (1885) / Whistler

 

visits Monet at Giverny 1885 @30, buys 4 of Monet's paintings

  

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STYLE:

 

- mature art skills

- unusual concentration + stamina; seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing masters in contemporary fashion

- portraits reveal individuality / personality of subjects (nervous energy) (pleasant familiarity w/ subjects)

- early: unusual composition + lighting to striking effect

- not an impressionist but using its technique to his advantage i.e. Claude Monet Painting at the Edge of a Wood

- late (Britain): returned to landscape (charming English countryside : )

- portrait painter in the grand manner (ennobling subjects)

- realism

- 1880s tried British Impressionist Salon in plein-air style (French Impressionists did not consider him Impressionist; Monet even said he's too influenced by Carolus-Duran)

 

JSS would visit sitter's home to see where painting would hang + helped choose attire, but usually painted in studio (well-stocked w/ furniture/backdrops)

 

usually req. 8-10 sittings, face in 1

usu. kept pleasant conversation (he hated) and/or took piano breaks

 

as for landscapes: he showed equal restless intensity, working day morning to night

 

watercolors were his most vivid / experimental vs. pressured portraiture

early water colors: M.E. / N Africa: Bedouins / goatherds / fisherman

late water colors: mostly faun / flora / natives…in Maine / Florida / W Am.

this was the period, in last decade, when he painted most purely for himself, showing joyful fluidness – hence extensively family / friends / gardens / fountains

 

no assistants!

prepped canvas, arranged for photos, shipping, documentation, bureaucracy all independently

  

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VALUE:

 

live portraits cost ≈ $5k ($130k! today; 26x) (1890s @34+, UK, avg. 14 commissions/yr = $1.8M!!)

late (1900s) portrait drawings: $400 ($10.4K today; 12.5 cheaper than full oil portraits)

auction value:

  

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FAME:

 

instantly popular due superior talent + command of French language

 

1877 @21 1st Salon got him attention (1st major portrait, of friend Fanny Watts)

1877 2nd Salon entry was impressionistic 'Oyster Gatherers of Cançale' (he made 2nd copy for US Salon)

1879 @23 portrait of Carolus-Duran (his teacher since 1874) hailed at Salon (for tribute to famed Duran + as mature ad for portrait commissions); see Henry James'critique below

1887 @ 31 1st success at Brit. Royal Academy 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose' (immediately bought by Tate Gallery! where it's still hanging today)

1887-88 1st trip to NY/Boston begets him over 20 commissions

1888 largest JSS commission from single patron by Asher Wertheimer, wealthy London Jewish art dealer (bequeathing most to National Gallery)

 

1890s associate of the Royal Academy; full mbr. 3 yrs later

1905 @49 1st major solo watercolors exhibit, Carfax Gallery, London

1909 @53 exhibits 86 watercolors in NYC (83 bought by Brooklyn Museum! then)

1907 @51, upon closing studio, declines British Knighthood! (preferring to keep Am. citizenship)

1918 @62, upon return UK from 2 yr stay in US, commissioned as a war artist by Brit. Ministry of Info i.e. 'Gassed' (1919) (WWI mustard gas)

JSS confidently set high prices + turned down unsatisfactory sitters

  

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CRITIQUE:

 

1879 Henry James (Am./Brit. writer, key figure in 19C literary realism or impressionist writing style) on JSS's early works offers "the slightly 'uncanny' spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its career has nothing more to learn."

 

1886 @31 he moved to London after French Mme X scandal; initially Brits critiqued him as 'Frenchified' (cold, harsh, inpallpable, inexpressive)

 

water colors in general: 'Everything is given with the intensity of a dream.'

 

'the Van Dyck of our times'

 

Camille Pissarro 'he is not an enthusiast but rather an adroit performer'

Walter Sickert's satire 'Sargentolatry'

 

1927, 2 years after JSS's death, Hon. Sir Evan Edward Charteris (1864-1940 Brit. biographer / barrister / arts administrator / publisher of JSS biography!) 'To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world, ‘the refluent shade’ and ‘the Ambient ardours of the noon.'' (JSS was not as critically respected as the ultimate Am. watercolorist Winslow Homer, 1836-1910, 20 years younger than JSS, but close)

 

1917 following his encore portrait, Rockefeller, modern critics consider him past tense, completely out of touch with the reality of American life vs trendy Cubism + Futurism; JSS quietly accepts new criticism but refuses to alter his negative opinions of modern art; part of his fall due to rise in anti-Semitism (intolerance of 'celebrations of Jewish prosperity') i.e. his single biggest patron Wertheimer (jewish art dealer) + authentic Americanism (when JSS was an expatriate)

 

1926 Roger Fry, biggest critic @ London's Sargent retrospective 'Wonderful indeed, but most wonderful that this wonderful performance should ever have been confused with that of an artist.' on lack of aesthetic quality

 

1930s severest critic, Lewis Mumford (1895-1990; Am. literary critic / historian / philosopher of tech) 'Sargent remained to the end an illustrator…the most adroit appearance of workmanship, the most dashing eye for effect, cannot conceal the essential emptiness of Sargent's mind, or the contemptuous and cynical superficiality of a certain part of his execution.'

 

1950s/60s Victorian art revival helped his popularity return

  

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FAMOUS WORKS:

 

01. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1877 Royal Aca. @31)

02. Portrait of Madame X (Mme Pierre Gautreau) (1884 Salon @29) (currently at MET)

(personal fave, considered his best too) (most controversial work as infuriated by Paris Salon; back-firing self-confidence as she did not commission it + he pursued her for the opportunity + she was portrayed with equally arrogantly cocked head + over-sensual – new negative critique + dried up French commissions are also probable cause for his move to London and/or his wish to pursue msuic or business instead!; shame as painted Mme Gautreau over 1 yr! + his best work)

 

03. Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1892 @36)

04. The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1879 @24, influenced by Velázquez's Las Meninas 1656)

05. El Jaleo (1882 @27)

06. The Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Burckhardt) (1882 @27) (friend, rumored romantic involvement)

07. even 2 U.S. pres. Theodore Roosevelt + Woodrow Wilson

08. LAST regular portrait 1907: modest / serious self-portrait (in Uffizi Gallery)

09. John D. Rockefeller (1917 @61)

10. very last portrait 1925 @69: 'Grace Curzon, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston' (daughter of Monroe Hinds, former US Minister to Brazil)

11. Largest works: murals of Boston Public Library (depicts history/triumph of religion); 24 years in the making, final panel never done!; restored 2003-2004, as hidden for all these years, even showing the controversial paintings; if Mme X was his most controversial portrait @29 in 1884 Paris, this Boston mural starting @39 in 1895 was the next most controversial work, when it reached controversy in 1919 @63 as he painted 'The Church' and 'The Synagogue,' politically incorrect or offending Boston's Jews, since it depicts human progress as Christian (radiant young woman vs. old blind hag)…since JSS abandoned the job thereafter, the public outcry died too

  

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QUOTE:

 

1. self-confidence

'I have a great desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her beauty. ...you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent.' him on Mme X poser ; )

 

2. work

'Painting a portrait would be quite amusing if one were not forced to talk while working…What a nuisance having to entertain the sitter and to look happy when one feels wretched.' him 1907 @51 when closing studio

  

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LEGACY:

 

≈ 900 oil paintings (avg. 14 portrait commissions/yr)

2,000+ watercolors

countless sketches/charcoal drawings (JSS called them rapid charcoal portraits 'Mugs')

 

Grand Central Art Galleries (GCAG):

JSS founded this 1922 with Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark etc.

to increase Americans' awareness of essence of art + act as largest sales gallery ww! ($100-$10k)

the NY Central Railroad gifted the top of the Grand Central Terminal (6 floors! 15000 sf or 1400 m2)

- launched 1923 Mar 23

- initial art: painting, sculpture

- JSS was actively involved in GCAG + its academy Grand Central School of Art till death in 1925

- 1928, 3 yrs after his death, GCAG exhibited 100s of his sketches (found in his London studio, entrusted to organize by his sister to GCAG co-founder Leighton)

- GCAG was in Grand Central 1923-1958 (35 years), moving to smaller, 2nd floor on Biltmore Hotel for 23 years till 1981, then 24 W 57th St for ca. a decade when closed in early 1990s.

  

© 2010-2011 iSphere / the graphicJungle