"To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with sunshine
captured and held, with the luster of a bright and legible world,
'the refluent shade' and 'the Ambient ardours of the noon."
Most folks only know John Singer Sargent as a rock star portrait painter of notable "one per centers" of the guilded age—wealthy Americans and British aristos—but he grew weary of being a notable portrait painter, stuck in a studio. So instead of all that safe fame and fortune he set off to paint what he wanted, and where he wanted. His travels brought him all over the globe—desolate Bedouin camps in North Africa, harsh marble quarries in Carrera, Italy, romantic, aquatic Venice with its amazing architecture and wonder, plush Italian villa gardens, salty seaside villages in Corfu and Majorca, and mountainous Tyrollean alps, to name just a few places. He still painted faces, but they were everyday people, some living gritty, hard lives. These faces—often nameless—included Middle-Eastern Bedouins, Majorcan fishermen, goat herders, quarry workers, Venetian gondoliers, Spanish flamenco dancers, even tramps, and he posed his sisters and nieces as models in many of his paintings. He also painted everyday scenes, such as a stream full of colorful pebbles and stones, or ripe, ruby red pomegranates on a tree. No matter what he painted, his work is dazzling!! I might have to go and see the show again!