Exhibitions/ Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends/ Exhibition Galleries/ Gallery Five

Gallery Five

Exhibition gallery

Sargent at the Met: Watercolors and Drawings

The Met's collection of works by Sargent is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Nearly every aspect of the artist's prolific career is represented by forty-one oil paintings, more than three hundred works on paper, and four sketchbooks. Sargent maintained a cordial relationship with the Met throughout his lifetime, selling works directly to the Museum, including several landscape paintings, ten brilliant watercolors, and his masterpiece Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau). The Met's holdings were amplified by many significant gifts over the years, but by far the largest one came from Sargent's sister Violet Sargent Ormond, who bequeathed hundreds of works in 1950. The Ormond Gift represented the remains of the artist's estate and is composed of many experimental and unfinished sketches.

The drawings and watercolors in this gallery are selected entirely from the Met's collection to complement the themes of the exhibition and represent the wide range of the artist's efforts on paper. They reveal the diversity of Sargent's oeuvre during more candid moments, his technical brilliance as a watercolorist, and his sensuous appreciation of the human figure—especially male. Most of these works were never exhibited in Sargent's lifetime.