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“Sargent: The Portrait Charcoals”
Upper Gallery, October 01, 2019
Tuesday, October 1, 7:00pm
Admission $10 (for SCNY Members and their Guests)
Sargent’s Portrait Drawings in Charcoal
John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) was the greatest Anglo-American portrait painter of his generation. In 1907, at the height of his powers, and to the consternation of fashionable society, he gave up his portrait practice in oils. His unfinished murals for the Boston Public Library on the theme of ‘The Triumph of Religion’ were weighing on his conscience, and he wanted to devote more time to landscape painting. Thereafter he offered his patrons portrait drawings in charcoal, mostly 24 x 18½ inches, that he could accomplish in a sitting of two to three hours. In the last two decades of his life he drew more than seven hundred and fifty personalities on both sides of the Atlantic, in a bravura style as spirited and characterful as his portraits in oil. They constitute a second Portrait Gallery of the Age, as distinguished as his first, and they deserve to be far better known. The lecture will present a selection of the charcoal portraits of notable men and women who sat to Sargent in the period 1907-1925, many of which will be on show when the exhibition of his charcoal portraits opens at the Morgan Library in New York on 5th October 2019.
About the Presenter
Richard Ormond has curated many major exhibitions on the works of Sargent in recent years and he is the co-author of the monumental Sargent Catalogue Raisonné, 9 volumes, Yale University Press, 1998-2016. He has also curated exhibitions and written books and catalogues on the work of Sir Edwin Landseer, Frederic, Lord Leighton, and F.X. Winterhalter. He is a former deputy-director of the National Portrait Gallery, and the former director of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, where, with the help of Lottery money he roofed in the main courtyard, re-organized the gallery displays, and staged such memorable exhibitions as the Spanish Armada, Henry VIII, Titanic, Pirates and the Story of Time. He is the great-nephew of John Singer Sargent.
Images: Lady Desbofrough, 1909; Winston Churchill, 1925; Richard Ormond by Shane Neal, 2017.