John Singer Sargent

Overview

In John Singer Sargent, Trevor Fairbrother, Deputy Director for Art and John and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern Art at the Seattle Art Museum, presents a rich and thoughtful interpretation of Sargent and his art. Fairbrother explores the opposing elements that made Sargent a complex figure and a great artist: he accepted his New England Puritan heritage but, for the most part, lived grandly in Europe; he achieved wealth and fame as a portraitist while hoping that his murals in Boston cultural institutions would ...
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1994 Hardcover New 0810938332. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened-157 pages with 103 illustrations, including 51 plates in full color.

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Overview

In John Singer Sargent, Trevor Fairbrother, Deputy Director for Art and John and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern Art at the Seattle Art Museum, presents a rich and thoughtful interpretation of Sargent and his art. Fairbrother explores the opposing elements that made Sargent a complex figure and a great artist: he accepted his New England Puritan heritage but, for the most part, lived grandly in Europe; he achieved wealth and fame as a portraitist while hoping that his murals in Boston cultural institutions would win him a loftier reputation; his art revels in the sumptuous effects of brilliant paint surfaces but Sargent himself was shy and retiring in public; the worldy, sophisticated persona of a preeminent artist of the Gilded Age may have concealed a conflicted sexuality.
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Editorial Reviews

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This intimate look at Sargent's life and career debunks early critical views of the painter as merely a competent imitator. Paying particular attention to the effect the aesthetic, realist, and Impressionist movements had on the artist, Fairbrother, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, is able to point to the wide range of subjects and media Sargent employed in his pursuit to represent honestly what he saw.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A companionable introduction to Sargent's life and work, this splendidly illustrated entry in Abrams's Library of American Art series concedes that the American painter, born in Italy and residing mostly in London and Paris, clung to the status quo and calculatedly borrowed from the realist, impressionist and aesthetic movements of his day. But Fairbrother, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, rejects the modernist dismissal of Sargent (1856-1925) as a facile illustrator, and instead profiles a virtuoso of stunningly accurate, provocative transcriptions of reality. The author proposes that the emotional volatility and edge of Sargent's work may have been shaped by homeorotic attraction felt by the shy, fastidious bachelor. This monograph pays particular attention to the exotic, sensuous early genre scenes, the marvelous diaphanous watercolors and to recent finds, such as Sargent's dramatic, idealized nude of an African American WW I veteran. (June)
Library Journal
Considered one of the brilliant portraitists of his age, Sargent has remained an enigmatic figure. An American expatriate initially welcomed by critics as a modern heir to Velzquez, he was attacked during the Depression by the likes of E.M. Forster and Lewis Mumford; in the 1960s, his reputation was resuscitated with the benefit of praise by, of all people, Andy Warhol. Fairbrother, Beal Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, admirably handles Sargent's complex background, including his New England Puritan heritage, his wealth and fame in Europe, and his conflicted sexuality. Careful not to focus too much on either praise or scorn, Fairbrother characterizes the range of Sargent's work as "massive, diverse, and uneven." For a good biography, see Stanley Olson's John Singer Sargent, His Portrait (St. Martin's, 1986). A wonderful entry in the much praised "Library of American Art" series, this is highly recommended for all libraries.-Daniel J. Lombardo, Jones Lib., Amherst, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810938335
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1994
  • Series: Library of American Art
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 6
I Beginnings: A Career in Paris 11
II Instinct for the Esoteric 21
III Fame and Scandal as a Parisian Portraitist 35
IV Decision and Indecision 55
V International Success in the 1890s 75
VI The Informal and the Personal 99
VII Canonized and Criticized 117
VIII Aftermath: Placing Sargent in the History of Art 139
Chronology 147
Selected Bibliography 150
Acknowledgments 152
Photograph Credits 153
Index 154
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