John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Watercolor, gouache, graphite, and wax crayon on white wove paper
13 5/16 x 20 15/16 in. (33.8 x 53.2 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950
Not on view
The prolific Sargent made dozens of sketches and watercolors during his time at the French Front as an official war artist. His subjects ranged from the horrific effects of modern chemical warfare to more intimate watercolors, which document the ruin and chaos of war as well as vignettes of the daily lives of soldiers. On occasion, Sargent found a discreet beauty in the military devastation and its influence on the landscape. Here, the camouflage fence in the background suggests the threat of war, but the image is tranquil, almost picturesque. A human presence is suggested by the bundles of hay on the ground and, in the distance, the tall grass yet to be reaped.
Inscription: [on verso at upper left]: Camouflaged field / in France 1917; [at upper center]: 9 /3 [encircled]; [at center]: H/[21?]; [at lower left]: W W
For exhibition history through 2000, see Stephanie L. Herdrich and H. Barbara Weinberg, American Drawings and Watercolors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: John Singer Sargent, New York, 2000.