Wednesday, February 8, 2023

No More Portraits!! --- Day 12/42

Walk: Legion of Honor (Sargent and Spain Exhibition*)

Distance: 2.5 miles

John Singer Sargent, Driving in Spain, ca 1903, watercolor over graphite

Late in his storied career as the foremost portraitist of Gilded Age personages, John Singer Sargent
announced "No More Portraits!"  There was much ado, begging and attempts at bribing from potential subjects, but Sargent stuck to his word.   As his subject matter expanded so did his audience including viewers today who delight in his paintings of clothing, ornament, flowers - and particularly his beloved Spain where he traveled often and extensively over 33 years.

And, Ciwt might add, arduously.  Travel in John Singer Sargent's day - by ship, rail, horse, mule, carriage or a combination - was not easy or reliable and speaks both to Sargent's fascination with Spain as well as his dedication to his craft.  In the watercolor above you get an immediate sense of how it might have felt riding beside him in a horse drawn omnibus as he arrived at one of the many Spanish 
towns he visited.

Today was the Press Preview of an exquisite, comprehensive, first ever (after its just finished run at  the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.) exhibition dedicated to Sargent in Spain.  Like most people Ciwt really only knew Sargent as a portrait painter and didn't know quite what to expect.  Well.......Stay tuned!

*Sargent and Spain, Legion of Honor Museum, February 11 - May 14, 2023.

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