Man with Red Drapery

Artist: John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)

Date: After 1900

Medium: Watercolor and graphite on white wove paper

Dimensions: 14 3/8 x 21 1/8 in. (36.5 x 53.7 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950

Accession Number: 50.130.73


While the active pose of this figure is like those seen in some of Sargent's compositions for the Boston Public Library, he painted this sheet with a brilliant immediacy and sensuous vivacity that distinguish it from both the murals and their preparatory studies. The genius of Sargent's watercolor technique is in his ability to suggest form and detail with just a few strokes. A brilliant example of his mastery and efficiency is his rendering of the figure's navel. A small oval of paper is left in reserve; above it, a pool of darker pigment gathers, as if by accident, to describe its contours.