John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent Locations
John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 ?C April 14, 1925) was the most successful portrait painter of his era. During his career, he created roughly 900 oil paintings and more than 2,000 watercolors, as well as countless sketches and charcoal drawings. His oeuvre documents worldwide travel, from Venice to the Tyrol, Corfu, the Middle East, Montana, Maine, and Florida.
Before Sargent??s birth, his father FitzWilliam was an eye surgeon at the Wills Hospital in Philadelphia. After his older sister died at the age of two, his mother Mary (n??e Singer) suffered a mental collapse and the couple decided to go abroad to recover. They remained nomadic ex-patriates for the rest of their lives. Though based in Paris, Sargent??s parents moved regularly with the seasons to the sea and the mountain resorts in France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. While she was pregnant, they stopped in Florence, Italy because of a cholera epidemic, and there Sargent was born in 1856. A year later, his sister Mary was born. After her birth FitzWilliam reluctantly resigned his post in Philadelphia and accepted his wife??s entreaties to remain abroad. They lived modestly on a small inheritance and savings, living an isolated life with their children and generally avoiding society and other Americans except for friends in the art world. Four more children were born abroad of whom two lived past childhood.
Though his father was a patient teacher of basic subjects, young Sargent was a rambunctious child, more interested in outdoor activities than his studies. As his father wrote home, ??He is quite a close observer of animated nature.?? Contrary to his father, his mother was quite convinced that traveling around Europe, visiting museums and churches, would give young Sargent a satisfactory education. Several attempts to give him formal schooling failed, owning mostly to their itinerant life. She was a fine amateur artist and his father was a skilled medical illustrator. Early on, she gave him sketchbooks and encouraged drawing excursions. Young Sargent worked with care on his drawings, and he enthusiastically copied images from the Illustrated London News of ships and made detailed sketches of landscapes. FitzWilliam had hoped that his son??s interest in ships and the sea might lead him toward a naval career.
At thirteen, his mother reported that John ??sketches quite nicely, & has a remarkably quick and correct eye. If we could afford to give him really good lessons, he would soon be quite a little artist.?? At age thirteen, he received some watercolor lessons from Carl Welsch, a German landscape painter. Though his education was far from complete, Sargent grew up to be a highly literate and cosmopolitan young man, accomplished in art, music, and literature. He was fluent in French, Italian, and German. At seventeen, Sargent was described as ??willful, curious, determined and strong?? (after his mother) yet shy, generous, and modest (after his father). He was well-acquainted with many of the great masters from first hand observation, as he wrote in 1874, ??I have learned in Venice to admire Tintoretto immensely and to consider him perhaps second only to Michael Angelo and Titian.?? Related Paintings of John Singer Sargent :. | The Sulphur Match | Venetian Glass Workers | Mrs Fiske Warren (Gretchen Osgood) and Her Daughter Rachel (mk18) | Artist in His Studio (mk18) | Alice Vanderbilt Shepard |
Related Artists:Carlo Pittara
Italian, 1836-1890Mathieu le Nain
1607 - 1677William Simpson
British Painter (1823-1899)
was a British artist and war correspondent. Born into poverty in Glasgow on 28 October 1823, Simpson went on to become one of the leading 'special artists' of his day, and sketched many scenes of war for the Illustrated London News. His early years were very difficult living in a house with an abusive and alcoholic father, and in 1834 he was sent to live with his grandmother in Perth. Simpson's only formal schooling took place during this period and within a few years, he was working as an apprentice in the Glasgow lithographic firm of Macfarlane. The artist stated later that "this was the turning point which changed all my boyish intentions." It was during the years in Glasgow that he attended the Andersonian University and the Mechanics Institute in the evenings. His next position was with the lithographic company of Allan and Ferguson where he spent four years learning the trade. In 1851 Simpson moved to London where he was hired by Day & Sons. While at Day's he was able to work on several important lithographic sets. He became famous initially for his work in the Crimean War where he was sent by the firm of Colnaghi to create a series of watercolors suitable for lithographing. In the late 1850's he was sent to India to sketch scenes relating to the recent Sepoy Revolt. He joined the ILN in 1866 and covered the Abyssinian Campaign of 1868. In 1870 he went to France to sketch the war with Prussia, and in the following year observed the barricades of the Paris Commune. During a trip around the world, he stopped off in California and traveled to the Lava Beds area to report on the Modoc War in 1873. Five years later, he journeyed to Afghanistan to provide illustrations of the Second Afghan War that had broken out; he returned to London in the summer of 1879. In 1890, he observed the opening of the Forth Bridge and caught a chill which was to have detrimental effects on his health. He died at home in Willesden, north London, on August 17, 1899, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Besides his war pictures, he covered state events, coronations, funerals, and other ceremonies. He was particularly interested in India and sketched scenes of the Kashmir Maharajas.