Saturday, April 28, 2007

John Singer Sargent & the Flint Institute of Art

Self Portrait, 1906, oil on canvas, 70 x 53 cm
Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

One of the best parts of growing up in Flint, Michigan was the Flint Institute of Art. Form the time I was ten my parents lived only a mile from the museum. The FIA is one of the best in Michigan, with its art classes and gallery. I took classes there all the way until I was in my mid 20s and spent a lot of time in the galleries as well.

I was there I found one of my favorite artist, John Singer Sargent. John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was the most successful portrait painter of his era, as well as a gifted landscape painter and watercolorist. Sargent was born in Florence, Italy to American parents. He studied in Italy and Germany, and then in Paris under Emile Auguste Carolus-Duran. In a time when the art world focused, in turn, on Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism, Sargent practiced his own form of Realism, which brilliantly referenced Velázquez, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough. His seemingly effortless facility for paraphrasing the masters in a contemporary fashion led to a stream of commissioned portraits of remarkable virtuosity.
Here are a few selections of his work:

Garden Study of the Vickers Children, 1884
Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan

Madame Pierre Gautreau (Madame X), 1884

Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Newton Phelps-Stokes, 1897
Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw, 1892-93
National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

The Daughters of Edward D. Boit, 1882
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, 1885-1886
Tate Gallery, London

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