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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Painting of the Month (34) October 2012: John Singer Sargent

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925   On The Verandah (Ironbound Island, Maine)
Painted c.1920-22
Apologies to those four people who commented that they couldn't see the picture. I tried to fix it and accidentally deleted the whole post! So I have re-written it from memory. Doh!
This watercolour and pencil painting is of Dwight Blaney and his family at their summer home on Ironbound Island which is nestled in the coast of Maine and is only about two miles by one mile wide. Blaney was a fellow artist and a friend of John Singer Sargent. Also in the painting are his wife Edith and his daughters Elizabeth, left, and Margaret.
It is an unusual composition because the two central figures face outwards from the picture and a strong X is formed by the perspective.
The painting is not regarded as one of his best works and is not much regarded at all but I like it very much. It is charming and presents the viewer with a picture of domestic bliss and tranquility
The painting was probably made very quickly and is really almost a sketch but it is beautiful as we see Blaney relaxing with a pipe while his wife and daughters are sewing or embroidering. I especially like the depiction of the trees between the first and second pillars. Only a few dabs of paint but very effective. The 'palette' that the artist uses (that is to say the range of colours) is very cohesive and relies mainly on pale pastel colours.


John said...

Sorry Bazza, maybe it's me, but I can't see the painting. I am sure if it has been chosen by you, it is a master piece.

Botanist said...

I can't see the painting either :(

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I also could not get the picture on your post, but I did look it up on the Internet. It is absolutely beautiful and your observations were excellent. I do love watercolors.

klahanie said...

Hey bazza,
Just a little square in the middle of the space where one would of hoped to see the painting.
I shall search images for the painting.
Cheers, dude.

bazza said...

Thank you to the four commenters above (especially those searched for the picture on the web!) Hopefully it will display prpoerly now!

John said...

I knew it would be a stunner! What a lovely painting, well worth the wait!

joanne fox said...

A lovely glimpse of family life. Or is it? That's the kind of picture that would start me off on a story. What's going on beneath that tranquil surface?

Dixie said...

Hi Bazza, haven't seen this one in a very long time. It could be one of his 'preliminaries' to a more formally finished oil painting. He was inclined to do that, as some people had issue with modeling; the length of time staying put was tiring or boring. I'm pretty sure he did more work with this family.

I do the same when I go on holiday. Drag the pencil box and watercolors... do the 'hard labor' later!!

An incredible portrait artist as well. I appreciated his play with light and dark and composition that challenged other artists of his time... some quite critical.

Nice choice, Bazza, enjoyed it.

bazza said...

John: It must have been strange to have read about the painting and then view it later! Glad you approve:)

bazza said...

Joanne: I did wonder whether the couple had had a row and were not on cordial terms.
Maybe there was an embarrassed silence while the painter worked and the young girls were having to suppress giggles. I bet you could weave a great tale from the picture. On The Veranda sounds like a Tennessee Williams title!

bazza said...

Dixie: I don't know of an oil version except for the many copies on offer on the Internet.
But I just love this watercolour!

David said...

Dear bazza,
A lovely painting. This time I have heard of the artist, but was not overly familiar with his work, so thanks again for introducing me to something new. My palette (is that how you spell it?) is growing thanks to your blog!
Very Best Wishes,

bazza said...

David: This is by no means typical of his work. He did many portraits and does not really have a recognisable style. I think this was a little private aside from his main body of work; he probably gave it to the sitters family!
I'm pleased that you like it. Keep extending that palette!

Kelly said...

I like this painting. It inspires tranquility. Plus, I like the artwork.

bazza said...

Kezza: Yep, tranquillity is a good word - but there is still, for me, that bit of tension as if something is being unsaid!