John Singer Sargent

Tatyana’s Art Inspired by Sargent

Watercolors paintings of Tatyana Zen are fluid and free, vibrant and dynamic. She has studied John Singer Sargent’s watercolor painting technique extensively and made hundreds of copies of his work. Watercolor landscapes by Tatyana Zen are dramatic and full of life! Her landscapes are inspired by the beauty of Southern California and her favorite place, Laguna Beach!

Sargent’s Biography

Spending much of his life traveling or living in Western Europe, John Singer Sargent was an American artist with an international background, and his far reaching travels brought him a broad range of sources for influence. He was known for his watercolors, his facility with the brush, and his portraits of socialites – though many of his best-known works were considered controversial. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he remained, in essence, a Realist painter who synthesized the portraiture of Diego Velazquez, Frans Hals and Rembrandt, with an acknowledgement of and slight experimentation with Impressionism.

Born in 1856 in Florence, Italy, to American expatriates, Sargent studied in Paris under Carolus Duran, who helped Sargent develop his ability to work alla prima, or using wet paint on wet paint without preliminary sketches; according to Sargent, “the thicker you paint, the more it flows.” Beginning in the late 1870s, Sargent began traveling around Europe, and painted lush countryside views through the popular plein air technique, or painting outside. He became well known for his portraiture in the United States and in Europe, and gained attention and patronage from socialites; however, his Madame X portrait (1883–1884), which he completed without a commission, caused a scandal at the Salon of 1884 for, essentially, its modernism. His treatment of pictorial space and flat forms and colors brought him considerable criticism, although eventually his portrait commissions returned to a consistent pace.

Settling in London in the 1890s, Sargent was beloved by English aristocrats and the artist community. He spent the final decades of his life successful enough that he could refuse portrait commissions, focusing instead on major projects which most interested him – largely murals for public spaces in the United States such as Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard University and the Boston Public Library.

Growing Demand for Sargent

Together with Walter Leighton Clark and Edmund Greacen, Sargent co-founded the Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City three years before his death in 1925. His works have been the focus of major grand scale exhibitions around the west, and his paintings can be found in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, among others.

The demand for his paintings during his lifetime has grown since his death; Group with Parasols, 1905, sold at Sotheby’s for $23.5 million in 2004, at double the estimate. While Sargent’s Cashmere sold at USD 10.1 million.