Ever since its establishment in 1870 the Museum has acquired important examples of American Art. A separate "American Wing" building to display the domestic arts of the seventeenth–early nineteenth centuries opened in 1924; paintings galleries and an enclosed sculpture court were added in 1980.
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
One of my favorite sections of Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, on view through this Sunday, October 4, is the final gallery, with its dazzling Italian scenes. All date from a time when the acclaimed painter had ceased to produce his self-termed commissioned "paughtraits," giving himself over entirely to the sensuous satisfactions of capturing art and friendship on canvas in the open air. Dubbed "painted diaries" by a family member, these breathtaking pictures arose from Sargent's summer and fall sojourns in Italy, the country of his birth. Habitually, he would invite a number of friends, some of whom were artists, and family to join him on excursions to the Veneto, Tuscany, Lombardy, and other picturesque regions.
Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
One hundred and five years after her death, the Spanish dancer Carmen Dauset Moreno (1868–1910) has made her big return to New York City in the exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, on view through October 4, 2015. Best known by her stage name, La Carmencita, Dauset made her dancing debut in the United States in 1889 at the Broadway theater Niblo's Garden and continued her enchanting performances at Koster and Bial's Music Hall. She was then, as she is today, a showstopper, and she appears midway through the exhibition in the arresting, full-length portrait shown above.
Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
For me, summer is usually the time to lie around, relax, and get my tan on, but, fortunately, this year was different; I decided to spend my time doing something a little more fruitful. When I saw that the Met was offering free summer classes, I happily signed up for Teen Summer Studio: Portraiture because the class revolved around the special exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends (on view through October 4, 2015). I had never taken a class at the Met before, and I have always loved John Singer Sargent's work, so I jumped at the opportunity to study it in detail.
Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
The exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends focuses on images of the artist's closest friends and members of his artistic circle. In his portraits of these progressive and creative personalities—many of which were not commissioned—Sargent was able to take more risks, creating images that are more dynamic, esoteric, and provocative than his commissioned works. I sat down with our exhibition designer, Brian Butterfield, to talk about how he conveyed some of these themes in the design of the exhibition. Brian joined the Met staff in November 2014, and brought a dynamic conceptual vision to the design of the show and a fresh approach to imagining the vast exhibition space of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall (gallery 999).
Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2015
John Singer Sargent paid careful attention to his sitters' hands, using pose and gesture to enhance and enliven his portraits. Throughout Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, you'll notice his tendency to bend, twist, or contort fingers and hands into unusual positions. In his portraits of actors, dancers, and musicians alike, Sargent's accentuation of hand gestures reveals details about his sitters' personalities or moods and, in some cases, the sitters' relationship with the artist.
Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015
I first encountered John Singer Sargent's portrait of Charles Deering in 1999 while visiting the home of a distinguished collector. I had been ushered into the dining room, where my eyes went immediately to the dazzling image of the older man, lithe and relaxed, lounging in a wicker chair in a lush, tropical setting. While I had never seen the portrait, I recognized Sargent's work immediately. The artist's delight in rendering light and shadow across the sitter's crinkled white suit recalls the splendid textiles of formal portraits such as Ada Rehan. The setting—painted in a bright palette and fluid style—echoes Sargent's watercolor technique and relates to several works in the Met's collection also painted during his visit to Florida in 1917. Currently on view in Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, the painter's image of Deering seamlessly blends aspects of portraiture and landscape painting to create a unique and candid masterpiece.
Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2015
During the installation of Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, while co-curator Stephanie Herdrich and I were deciding where to hang Sargent's portraits in their respective locations in the galleries, we were struck by the artist's luscious rendering of fabrics, particularly their vibrant colors and patterns. In many instances, his subject's attire—which Sargent often dictated—sets the mood for the portrait and vies for attention with the sitter's likeness. In other cases, the costume creates a fascinating foil, revealed in the face of his subject.
Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Have you ever viewed an artwork and wondered how it was made? The Met's collection is full of art that inspires us to ponder its creation, but the Museum rarely reveals the many steps that were taken to create the final work of art.