Garden near Lucca, John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London), Watercolor and graphite on white wove paper

Garden near Lucca

John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
ca. 1910
Watercolor and graphite on white wove paper
13 7/8 x 9 15/16 in. (35.2 x 25.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 773
An inscription on the back of this striking watercolor suggests that it was painted near Lucca, a charming Renaissance walled city in Tuscany, where Sargent spent the autumn of 1910. At the time, Sargent was preoccupied with creating a series of vibrant watercolors of villas and their gardens, which often focused on the effect of Italian light against stone. Here, Sargent uses a low vantage point to set off the richly carved urn against a brilliant blue sky, which he created with broad, wet washes. He enlivens a static subject by placing the urn close to the top edge of the composition and depicting the vine of vivid pinkish blue blossoms (possibly convolvulus, part of the morning glory family) as if it is cascading from the urn, using feathery brushstrokes.
Inscription: [on verso at upper left]: 42 [underlined] / 53 [crossed out] Garden near Lucca / by J. S. Sargent; [at upper right]: V.O / (Trust); [at center]: M/16; [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