John Singer Sargent, View from a Window, Genoa, a watercolour with pencil and oil

Genoa, Italy, around AD 1911

A sketch from the artist's hotel window

Born in Florence of American parents, John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) studied in Paris until 1884, the year he first achieved fame with his provocative portrait of Mme Gautreau (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York), first exhibited as Madame X. His bravura handling of paint (developed through a close study of Velazquez and Hals) won him great success as a portraitist, both in the United States, and in Britain, where he came to live after Paris. He was a friend of Monet, whom he painted around 1885 (Tate Gallery, London). In 1907 he gave up his successful portrait practice and, apart from a few distinguished exceptions (for example, his friend Henry James, 1913, National Portrait Gallery, London, and President Woodrow Wilson, 1917, National Gallery, Dublin), he devoted himself to landscapes, murals and watercolours from his travels. As an official War Artist in the First World War (1914-18), he produced the powerful and monumental Gassed (1918, Imperial War Museum, London).

This fresh, bright but uncharacteristically personal watercolour shows the view from Sargent's hotel, with the artist's sketchbook and paintbox propped open by the window.

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More information

Bibliography

E. Kilmurray and R. Ormond (eds.), John Singer Sargent (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1998)

Dimensions

Height: 403.000 mm
Width: 530.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1936-11-16-2

PDO640

Presented by Mrs Violet Ormond (sister of the artist)

Location

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