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John Singer Sargent Portraits

portrait of two women by John Singer Sargent

If a genie granted me the ability to bring one artist back from the dead to create a portrait of myself or a loved one, without thinking too hard about what it might mean for the artist (“you brought me back for what?!”), I’d pick John Singer Sargent. I’m curious about which artists come to mind for others, if anyone wants to chime in.

Above is “Ena and Betty, Daughters of Asher and Mrs Wertheimer,” from 1901, part of the Wertheimer Portraits. I love their hands in this image.

Reply ยท 19

The Impressionish Painter

I have to admit that as much as I love Evan Puschak’s Nerdwriter videos, I did not have high hopes for his latest video on John Singer Sargent, a painter I didn’t know a lot about and assumed, mostly based on his name (ugh, I know), that he was some fusty 19th-century painter who was not as interesting as the Impressionists. What a pleasant surprise to discover, right from Puschak’s expertly concise show-don’t-tell opening, that I am Sargent’s newest fan.

Everywhere you look in this painting you see his supremely confident looseness, a kind of painting you maybe wouldn’t think to associate with a realistic representation of the world. And yet that’s exactly the final effect โ€” a realism that is somehow more true than finely detailed painting.

Realism through impressionism? Sign me up. Stay curious, friends…you never know what interesting new (or old!) thing you’re going to discover next.