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Sargent and Italy
     

Sargent and Italy

by Jane Dini, Ilene Susan Fort, Stephanie L. Herdrich, Richard Warrington Baldwin Lewis, Richard Ormond
 

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This extravagantly illustrated catalogue -- published in association with a major transatlantic exhibition -- evokes the romantic fascination with Italy that shines in the work of John Singer Sargent. Sargent, heralded on both sides of the Atlantic, was one of the most creative American artists of the late nineteenth century. Born in Florence to American parents

Overview

This extravagantly illustrated catalogue -- published in association with a major transatlantic exhibition -- evokes the romantic fascination with Italy that shines in the work of John Singer Sargent. Sargent, heralded on both sides of the Atlantic, was one of the most creative American artists of the late nineteenth century. Born in Florence to American parents living abroad, he retained a deep and lifelong connection to the country famed for its ability to get "ineradicably in one's blood." Sargent vacationed frequently in Italy, and most of the works he created there were painted not for commission but out of his artistic passion for Italy's people, land, and culture. Often hauntingly powerful, they range from dramatically painted genre scenes of Italian peasants and saturated landscapes that celebrate the beauty of the Italian countryside to portraits of other Anglo-American expatriates and tourists, including Henry James and Vernon Lee.

The majority of works are of Italian sites, including well-known tourist spots but also the quieter, more isolated locales that Sargent sought out. His subjects include magnificent Italian gardens with their classical statuary, Rome's Renaissance and Baroque buildings, urban street scenes, the Italian Alps, and, of course, Venetian canals. Sargent found Venice particularly alluring, and the city well suited the water-color medium in which he worked most often in Italy. His use of vivid colors, brushwork that varied from soft and fluid to bold and dashing, and an overwhelming sense of light and air characterize his Italian scenes -- and rank Sargent as one of the finest watercolorists of all time. His later Italian works, some in watercolor and others in oil, reveal an artist who relished his materials and made art purely for art's sake. Both beautiful and informative, this lavish volume includes eighty-five color and fifty black-and-white images. It adds a new dimension to our appreciation of Sargent's art and will delight anyone who loves Italy, as Sargent so passionately did.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Sargent became one of the most international American artists of his day, shuttling around Italy, France, England, and the United States, but he knew Italy most intimately. . . . [He] hated the dull routine of society portraiture, and his Italian trips—painting peasants in Capri, Venetian bead stringers, Alpine brooks—refreshed him.
— Katherine Zoepf
Times Literary Supplement
[Sargent's] synthesis of the classic and the contemporary plays with light and shadow to create a shimmering sensuality. . . . [He] seemed to revel in the freedom which watercolors provide, and it is tempting to see these later Italian works as a release of sorts from the murals and high-toned portraits. . . . [T]hese paintings, of gardens, quarries, cypresses, and of his family and friends on holiday, convey a powerful sense of that liberation.
— Michael Carlson
Booklist
Extremely well written and filled with magnificent reproductions, this beautiful volume offers the first in-depth and original study of this great artist in many years.
Choice
With each new book on the ever-popular John Singer Sargent, readers learn more about the substantive complexities of an artist too often dismissed as simply a fashionable portraitist. The attraction of this appealing book . . . is the opportunity it affords for scholarly focus on a key aspect of Sargent's career.
The Art Book
Sargent and Italy, a lavishly illustrated volume . . . reminds us that Italy is both a place and an idea. . . . The idea of Italy—a metaphor for excess, romance and seduction—has . . . been . . . important to artists, among them John Singer Sargent. . .. Sargent and Italy insists, convincingly, that Sargent's vision of Italy was ultimately his own.
— Christopher Capozzola
New York Times Book Review - Katherine Zoepf
Sargent became one of the most international American artists of his day, shuttling around Italy, France, England, and the United States, but he knew Italy most intimately. . . . [He] hated the dull routine of society portraiture, and his Italian trips—painting peasants in Capri, Venetian bead stringers, Alpine brooks—refreshed him.
Times Literary Supplement - Michael Carlson
[Sargent's] synthesis of the classic and the contemporary plays with light and shadow to create a shimmering sensuality. . . . [He] seemed to revel in the freedom which watercolors provide, and it is tempting to see these later Italian works as a release of sorts from the murals and high-toned portraits. . . . [T]hese paintings, of gardens, quarries, cypresses, and of his family and friends on holiday, convey a powerful sense of that liberation.
The Art Book - Christopher Capozzola
Sargent and Italy, a lavishly illustrated volume . . . reminds us that Italy is both a place and an idea. . . . The idea of Italy—a metaphor for excess, romance and seduction—has . . . been . . . important to artists, among them John Singer Sargent. . .. Sargent and Italy insists, convincingly, that Sargent's vision of Italy was ultimately his own.
Library Journal
John Singer Sargent: Portraits of the 1890s is the second volume of the definitive Sargent catalogue raisonn , following The Early Portraits by the same authors. The portraits are arranged chronologically, and accompanying entries include biographical information about the sitter as well as a context for most portraits, utilizing contemporary biographical and critical sources. The book's chronology features significant details regarding exhibitions and important social events for the artist from every month of the 1890s. The authors include general background about the technique and condition of each painting. A study of the sitter's clothes and partial studies of subjects are nice additions. Ormond is an independent art historian and great-nephew of Sargent; Kilmurray is research director of the catalogue raisonne. The third and fourth volumes of the Sargent catalogue raisonne are in the works. With high-quality illustrations, most in color, this will be the definitive and most complete scholarly work on Sargent's life works. Sargent and Italy is the catalog from the exhibit scheduled to reach the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Denver Art Museum in 2003. This title assembles the paintings Sargent created in Italy during his many vacations there and documents the American painter's fascination with his birthplace. Edited by the chief curator of the Center for American Art at LACMA, the book contains several essays about Sargent's Italian experiences by curators and scholars, including Ormond, accompanied by 85 color and 50 black-and-white images. His watercolors and oils depict dramatic genre scenes of peasants and landscapes of the Italian countryside. Also included are portraits of fellow expatriates and tourists like Henry James and Edith Wharton. Italy was extremely influential on Sargent's work, which makes this a significant addition to books on Sargent. For libraries on a limited budget, John Singer Sargent, a one-volume work edited by Kilmurray and Ormond, would be a good bet, but both of these beautiful and informative new catalogs are highly recommended for libraries with art collections.-Jennifer Mayer, Univ. of Wyoming Libs., Laramie Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"Sargent became one of the most international American artists of his day, shuttling around Italy, France, England, and the United States, but he knew Italy most intimately. . . . [He] hated the dull routine of society portraiture, and his Italian trips--painting peasants in Capri, Venetian bead stringers, Alpine brooks--refreshed him."--Katherine Zoepf, New York Times Book Review

"[Sargent's] synthesis of the classic and the contemporary plays with light and shadow to create a shimmering sensuality. . . . [He] seemed to revel in the freedom which watercolors provide, and it is tempting to see these later Italian works as a release of sorts from the murals and high-toned portraits. . . . [T]hese paintings, of gardens, quarries, cypresses, and of his family and friends on holiday, convey a powerful sense of that liberation."--Michael Carlson, Times Literary Supplement

"Extremely well written and filled with magnificent reproductions, this beautiful volume offers the first in-depth and original study of this great artist in many years."--Booklist

"Beautiful and informative. . . . Italy was extremely influential on Sargent's work, which makes this a significant addition to book son
Sargent."--Library Journal

"With each new book on the ever-popular John Singer Sargent, readers learn more about the substantive complexities of an artist too often dismissed as simply a fashionable portraitist. The attraction of this appealing book . . . is the opportunity it affords for scholarly focus on a key aspect of Sargent's career."--Choice

"Sargent and Italy, a lavishly illustrated volume . . . reminds us that Italy is both a place and an idea. . . . The idea of Italy--a metaphor for excess, romance and seduction--has . . . been . . . important to artists, among them John Singer Sargent. . .. Sargent and Italy insists, convincingly, that Sargent's vision of Italy was ultimately his own."--Christopher Capozzola, The Art Book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691139449
Publisher:
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Publication date:
08/25/2008
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Robertson is professor of the history of art and architecture at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He is a specialist in American art from 1700 to 1945 and has published books on Winslow Homer and Marsden Hartley.

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