Song of the Siren

John La Farge American

Not on view

Throughout his career, La Farge used watercolor in preparation for creating stained glass windows and mural compositions and as independent works of art. La Farge moved easily between mediums, often translating his preparatory watercolors into independent compositions for exhibition. Song of the Siren, a mythological composition depicting a shepherd lured by a siren’s song, is a replica of an illustration that he had made in the early 1870s, which appeared first as the frontispiece for Abby Sage Richardson’s Songs from the Old Dramatists (1873). Song of the Siren displays the artist’s interest in Japanese design with its compressed, flat composition organized around the sweeping diagonal between earth and water and his technical skill as a watercolorist, evident in the subtle modulation of tones and delicate control in rendering form and shadow.

Song of the Siren, John La Farge (American, New York 1835–1910 Providence, Rhode Island), Watercolor and gouache on paper, American

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