Though much of his legacy is linked to oil-painting portraiture, American artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) spent much of the 20th century creating works in watercolor. More than 90 of those pieces — whose subjects run the gamut from Italian gardens and maritime scenes to lounging ladies and fierce Bedouin riders — will be on display in the exhibit “John Singer Sargent: The Watercolors” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
“In watercolor, Sargent was liberated to explore subjects and scenes he was personally passionate about,” says Kaylin Weber, the museum’s assistant curator of American painting and sculpture. “His watercolors reveal his longstanding interest in travel. His works became almost like a visual memoir, tracing his travels around Europe and the Middle East.” Consisting entirely of paintings shown at two New York exhibits in 1909 and 1912, the watercolors also showcase Sargent’s deft use of light in his works and scenes more cropped than expansive. “He did not paint broad, sweeping views of the Grand Canal in Venice, as predecessors had done,” Weber continues. “Instead, he captured the underside of a famous bridge or the prow of a gondolier’s boat. This approach made his watercolors feel more intimate and undoubtedly quite new and fresh.”
1001 Bissonnet St.
Houston, TX 77004
Region: Kirby-West U
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12:15 to 7 p.m. Sundays. Through May 26. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7300 or visit mfah.org. $20 to $23.
Sundays, 12:15-7 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Starts: March 2. Continues through May 26, 2014