September 15, 2015

Studio Night Update, Part 3

Sunday was reserved for John Singer Sargent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but it started with me trying to come up with a concrete solution for my slump. Even though I know there is no concrete solution, I kept coming back to that thought, so I had to tell myself again to Calm the F Down and enjoy my last day and my bagels and lox at the Applejack Diner, and the Sargent exhibit at the Met.

I love the approach to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I usually end up taking the 6 up to (I think) 77th at Lexington, then walking west to 5th Avenue at Central Park. Then I get to walk along Central Park until the giant temple of art looms to my left. I love it! There are hot dog carts in front and people on the steps and fountains and buses and people and people and people. Inside it’s just people.

The first thing I noticed in the Sargent exhibit was the painting Ramón Subercaseaux in a Gondola. I knew I had seen it before – it’s a small, sketchy painting with barely an indication of the gondola and canal, and a man sitting on a bench facing the viewer. I looked at the label for the painting and it said it’s on loan from the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, TN. I knew I’d seen it before!

Another thing I noticed is how much Sargent uses black when painting portraits. So many subjects were in black clothes. What I don’t understand is how he has darker black paint and lighter black paint – not gray – lighter black!

The hands he painted were so simple yet so real. His paint application almost seems lazy at times, but all of the hands read as very expressive hands. The other thing I especially noticed was the balance of loose and tight paint, of detailed areas and not-detailed areas.

My favorite thing in the exhibit was a small pencil sketch of the same woman from the Madame X painting, lounging on a couch, mid-conversation. The label beside it read: 
“A prolific and successful painter in oil and watercolor, Sargent seems to have sketched almost incessantly.” Yes! 

And that was it! Essentially the end of my trip. I won’t bore you with how much I enjoyed the combo bus ride/walk back to my hotel to pick up my bag (I said goodbye to each New York thing), or with the craziness of the system for taking the NJ Transit to Newark Airport from Penn Station (because it all worked out). I got home about 10:30 on Sunday night, and I was happy to be there.

1 comment:

Joan Tavolott said...

I love your outdoor sketch of the museum coming out the front door. Glad you had such a great time in NYC. Let us know the next time you come to town.

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