John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Watercolor and graphite on white wove paper
20 7/8 x 15 3/4 in. (53 x 40 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 770
Sargent traveled frequently, especially after 1900, when his interests shifted away from his portrait work and towards landscape and genre scenes. During holidays with family and friends, he worked more often in watercolor, a portable medium that suited his expressive style. This sheet was painted in Abriès, an Alpine region in France near the Italian border. In this tightly cropped view, Sargent studies the characteristic architecture of the region. He eliminates the sky and creates a near abstract composition by focusing on the geometric challenge of depicting a chalet’s intersecting wood beams. Sargent never exhibited this watercolor during his lifetime and probably considered it unfinished.
Inscription: [on verso at upper left]: 68 [underlined] V.O. / (Trust); by J.S. Sargent Abriez; [at center]: D / [illegible mark] /15; [at lower left]: SMW
the artist, until d. 1925; his sisters, Mrs. Francis Ormond (Violet Sargent) and Miss Emily Sargent, until 1936 (Emily Sargent's death); Mrs. Francis Ormond, until 1950