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The American Wing

American

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.

Sargent Exhibition Blog

Tracing Connections between Sargent and Charles Deering

Stephanie L. Herdrich, Assistant Research Curator, The American Wing

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.

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Now at the Met

All American: Summer of Sargent and Bingham

Nora Gorman, College Group at the Met Committee Member

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015

On Friday, July 31, the College Group at the Met (CGM) invited local college and graduate students to view The American Wing's summer exhibitions and permanent collection during the event All American: Summer of Sargent and Bingham. The evening's programs highlighted Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends and Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River, and uncovered exciting connections between the two exhibitions.

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Sargent Exhibition Blog

Sargent's Theatrics: Dressing His Friends

Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Alice Pratt Brown Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The American Wing

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.

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Now at the Met

How Was It Made? The Process of Creating Art

Adrienne Spinozzi, Research Associate, The American Wing; and Medill Higgins Harvey, Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, The American Wing

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.

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Sargent Exhibition Blog

Sargent and Saint-Gaudens

Thayer Tolles, Marica F. Vilcek Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, The American Wing

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2015

Who is the fidgety boy who commands our gaze midway through Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends? He's Homer Saint-Gaudens (1880–1958), ten-year-old son of the eminent American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907). Titled Portrait of a Boy (Homer Saint-Gaudens and his Mother), the canvas is ostensibly a likeness of Homer, with his mother, Augusta (1848–1926), relegated to the shadowy background.

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Now at the Met

Art and Life in Thomas Hart Benton's America Today, with Randall Griffey

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Missouri native Thomas Hart Benton is often recognized as the leader of Regionalism, the 1930s artistic movement that celebrated rural life in the United States, but few know that New York was his home from 1912 to 1935. In 1930, he received his first major commission for a mural from the New School of Social Research. Called America Today, that mural is the subject of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest Bulletin, published to accompany the acquisition of the mural as a gift from AXA in November 2012 and its installation at the Met.

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Sargent Exhibition Blog

On the Audio Guide: Artist Katy Grannan

Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Artists often tell us that the Met is their favorite museum to visit, and their comments on works in the collection are among the most insightful one can hear (see, for instance, the fantastic results of The Artist Project, where a hundred artists respond to objects in the Museum's galleries are being assembled—forty episodes are already up). I was thrilled, then, when my colleagues Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser and Stephanie Herdrich asked for my advice last January about living artists they might approach to contribute to the Audio Guide for Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends. I agreed with them that an artist's voice, particularly in the context of an exhibition of a painter's portraits of his friends and acquaintances, would be vital and exciting.

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Sargent Exhibition Blog

Sargent and the Met: In the Reading Room

Stephanie L. Herdrich, Assistant Research Curator, The American Wing

Posted: Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Visitors to Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends will notice a special feature in the exhibition's reading room: an installation of twenty-one drawings and watercolors by John Singer Sargent from the Metropolitan Museum's extensive holdings. Chosen to complement the themes of the exhibition, these works represent the wide range of Sargent's efforts on paper. They reveal his technical brilliance as a watercolorist and draftsman, the diversity of his oeuvre during more candid moments, and his sensuous appreciation of the human figure—especially that of the male.

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Sargent Exhibition Blog

Where Is Madame X?

Stephanie L. Herdrich, Assistant Research Curator, The American Wing

Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

John Singer Sargent's Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) is an icon of the Met's collection. Each year, visitors flock to The American Wing to muse on the eccentric glamour of this bold portrait featuring the American wife of a French banker. Ordinarily we think Madame X looks quite splendid in gallery 771, where she is seen with other grand-manner portraits of the period. Surrounded by Sargent's portraits of the Wyndham sisters and Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes, Gautreau appears quite distinct from the elegant high-society portraits.

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Sargent Exhibition Blog

Welcome to Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends

Stephanie L. Herdrich, Assistant Research Curator, The American Wing

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Welcome to the blog for Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends, on view through October 4, 2015. In weekly posts throughout the run of the exhibition, we'll look more closely at the life and work of John Singer Sargent, explore some of the themes of the exhibition in depth, and take a look behind the scenes at how the show came together. You'll hear from me and other colleagues in The American Wing and throughout the Museum. I will be moderating the blog and look forward to your comments.

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