Sargent: The Masterworks

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Today, painter John Singer Sargent is often recognized for his portrait of “Madame X” or his plein air depiction of two children lighting Japanese lanterns titled “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.” Though the latter features on the cover of John Singer Sargent: The Masterworks, it’s, ironically, little representative of his diverse body of work. The late 19th-century artist was a popular portraitist in high demand among Europe’s wealthy. To be the subject of a Sargent portrait was to cement one’s elite status. While Sargent’s portraits were largely in the classical style, the funds from his popular portraiture allowed him to explore a range of styles throughout his career. Many of these works are gathered in this collection, presented alongside a written history placing the works in context of Sargent’s life and career. The book is beautifully produced and would certainly be pleasant enough on a coffee table, if people actually do that. The main quibble, if I were to make one, would simply be that the book is only able to describe the details of some of the works included, while others of them about which I at times had questions, weren’t described in detail. Given the relative size of the book, however, it’s understandable, if regrettable, that it would be bound by certain constraints. Those notwithstanding, I was pleased to learn a great deal that was new to me about Sargent and his works.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 224 pages
Publisher Rizzoli Electa
Publish Date 2018-Mar-27
ISBN 9780847862399 Buy this Book
Issue June 2018
Category Architecture & Photography


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