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Friday, September 10, 2010

Road Trip to Cooperstown (or a long way to drive for the love of John Singer Sargent)

"Lady Agnew" - watercolour study by Christy Obalek 
of John Singer Sargent's work in oil: "Lady Agnew of Lochnaw"

I'm going on a road trip today - to Cooperstown, New York.
Not for the Baseball Hall of Fame, either.

So the question everyone asks is: why go there, if not for the love of the game?

My answer is short and sweet: John Singer Sargent

He was best known for his amazing oil portraits of prominent women at the turn of the century (last century, that is!) 

I'll include a few of his watercolours here, because, after all, that is what you're here for, right?

His most famous (infamous) painting was of Madame Gautreau
 - often referred to as "Madame X" - (you can google it) - 
but I love this reference sketch, painted in watercolour:

Portrait of Madame Gautreau - 1883 
John Singer Sargent
Watercolor on paper 
35.5 x 25.2 cm


The Garden Wall 
John Singer Sargent -- 1910
Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite, with wax resist, on paper
40 x 52.7 cm (15 3/4 x 20 3/4 in.)
The Green Dress 
John Singer Sargent -- 1912 
Watercolor on paper
 42 x 32 cm (16 1/2 x 12 5/8 in.)

And here are some of my favourites in oil. The moody and perfect "Repose":
(oh, how I love his use of blue)

Repose (Nonchaloire)
John Singer Sargent -- 1911 
Oil on canvas 
63.8 x 76.2 cm (25 1/8 x 30 in.)  
The model is Sargent's  niece, Rose-Marie Ormond Michel.  

and of course, the intriguing, mysterious Lady Agnew:

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw John Singer Sargent -- 1892-93  
Oil on canvas
124.5 x 99.7 cm  (49 x 39 1/4 in.) 

I'll be back on Monday, with photos and an account of our trip.
Till then, enjoy your own travels in watercolour!

4 comments:

Mishkat said...

I'm envious! I love Sargent also. I think he's somewhat out of fashion now (maybe not?) but both his oils and watercolors are amazing.

P.S. I was fortunate enough to see a Winslow Homer watercolor exhibition a while back and his watercolors are also beautiful - I like them much more than his oil paintings.

h2oArt said...

Christy, I love how you handled those studies. Enjoy your trip to NY, that was my home state. Don't miss that cold weather though!

Pam of Always Artistic said...

Wow beautiful watercolor by you. And his work is beautiful too. Hope you had fun on your trip!

Stewart Kenneth Moore (Booda) said...

If you are ever in Edinburgh Christy you should take time to see this painting (Lady Agnew) at the National Gallery of Scotland. If it still hangs as it did when I was last there you'll find a comfortable seat in front of it. I could look at the original for a very long time. In fact I did and no photograph (that I've seen) can capture a fraction of its beauty. Great choice, I can't think of a better picture to study.