From 1905 till the start of World War I, John Singer Sargent often travelled in Europe with painter couple Jane and Wilfrid de Glehn, the three frequently appearing in each other’s paintings!
So it’s no wonder that The Fountain, Villa Torloniawas in an exhibition at The Met (closed October 4) “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends.” The show featured nearly 100 paintings and drawings the artist did of friends and creative figures of the era. Being that they are of his personal friends and associates, and generally not commissioned, these works are particularly dynamic, intimate, and experimental.
I only found out about this extraordinary show because the Snail Family’s friend Antonie Becker, in New York, saw it and sent me this lovely postcard. There’s nothing like a surprise postcard in the mailbox. Thanks Antonie! Here are two other Sargent postcards I have from LACMA:Even without the dates (Sargent was 18-24 years old when he painted this), I would guess this was an early work because the artist is working within an established Classical theme. One of the great things about Sargent is that, normally, his paintings are firmly grounded in their time. He does not get overtly romantic or try to fit himself into traditions. I guess that’s why I found this exception touching. That said, the most distinctive thing about Sargent is already present in this early work–the facial realism contrasting with the activating looseness of his brush everywhere else.