Never known as a carouser or a drinker, as were many of his colleagues, Sargent was a perfectionist workaholic. The book also examines Sargent's career; the career of another ex-patriate American painter, Edward Darley Boit, whose daughters were the models for the portrait; the history of the Boit family; and the Parisian social and artistic milieu that served as the setting for the portrait. Chris Oh, Damascus, 2018, Acrylic paint on jar and honey, 7 x 4 x 2. You can bond through conversations over the thought-provoking pieces. Their expressions and body language are candid, as if they were caught by surprise in a snapshot. The Notes confirm the reliance on primary sources. As a personality, Sargent himself was somewhat opaque.
At first glance, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit is remarkable in a number of ways. But apparently, I am only one of legions of people who have responded very emotionally to this stunning work of art. Rather than using a staff system, it uses a grid system, with each note taking up a square in sequential order. I should have figured since it is about my second favorite painting and has a little section about my favorite one. Some art has sweeping sociopolitical messages, while other art serves a primarily aesthetic purpose.
Anyone who has examined this painting in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston may have the same fascination that it exerts for me. I found this small book to be weak since, though the painting is portraits of four girls, not much was known about the actual making of the painting nor of the little girls. The first half, rather dull, discussed John Singer Sargeant, his paintings and those of his contemporaries. The Boit family was from New England, but Sargent painted the girls in the foyer of a grand Paris apartment, deliberately situating them in a locus of uncertainty — perpetually on a threshold, like their roving expatriate parents, who had leased the suite of rooms three years earlier. If one would wish to cheat, the pertinent information is covered by the author in this lecture: I really enjoyed the idea of this book. I was disappointed in this book, thinking it was a biography of the Boit family. Since the Boit family moved frequently throughout Europe and parts of America, the story is fleshed out with descriptions of the peripatetic lifestyle enjoyed by the aristocracy.
I think that I would only recommend this book to people who were art history majors in college or are really into art. It was painted in 1882 and is now exhibited in the new Art of the Wing of the in Boston. There was admittedly little to work with, and what she found was patchy, but Erica Hirshler has provided some insight into this landmark painting. John Singer Sargent eventually admitted sometime around 1907, before he painted his last self-portrait, that he was pretty much burned out from the process. Hirshler is Croll Senior Curator of Paintings, Art of the Americas, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. But at least one of his young sitters complained of long hours enduring the tedium of his painstaking work, leaving her frustrated and angry — although she apparently continued to admire him.
Their four daughters were Florence, Jane, Mary Louisa and Julia. Specifically, his work zeroes in on the adolescent jail and its solitary confinement unit. I liked the way the book is structured and the evenhanded way the author presents the varying interpretations of, and reactions to, this work of art. The Painting, depicting four young sisters in the family apartment unveiled at the Paris Salon of 1883, it predated by just one year the scandal of Madame X , both explores and defies convention, crossing the boundaries between portrait and genre scene, formal composition and casual snapshot. We also know that it stayed with the family until later on when the daughters donated it to the Boston Fine Arts Museum in memory of their father. We deify our celebrities and social debutantes more than ever these days. The first half read like a text book; the second half finally discussed the Boit family and as much information as is known about the four girls in the portrait as well as the history of the location of the portrait of which there were many.
The chapters on the art reviews were a little tedious, there were too many footnotes, and the ending was anticlimactic. We are then swept into the full-life stories of all the Boits, a glimpse into the li If only the book had followed the title and focused primarily on painter John Singer Sargent. What stands out though, in the way this painting has been received through time, is its perplexing ambiguity. Come one, come all, and witness the emergence. People demand more from their art nowadays.
While Hirshler cautions that choosing a single life need not indicate unhappiness or disappointment, it is nonetheless striking that all four sisters remained unmarried and formed their closest ties with family members. James and Wharton actually met at a dinner at the Boits. She tracks the Boits-- the parents and individually the four girls--, their ancestors, their finances, their frequent travels, and their circles on both sides of the Atlantic at a time when it was cheaper to live in Paris than in Boston. Unfortunately, the parts about Sargent and his art are by far the most interesting parts of the book. Much was imagined and interpreted. Hirshler looks at Sargent's famous painting of the Boit daughters from every possible angle -- artistic, cultural, psychological, and biographical.
You have Lucien Freud, who was doing a lot of portrait and commission-based work. In fact, art critic John Charles Van Dyke insisted Sargent was fanatical about realism. This painting depicts four young sisters in the spacious foyer of the family's Paris apartment, strangely dispersed across the murky tones and depths of the square canvas, as though unrelated to one another, unsettled and unsettling to the eye. Written as a biography of the famous painting by John Singer Sargent, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, this book uses a source material personal letters, public writings as well as historic records. I did learn quite a bit about the Paris Salon, the differences among French versus English versus American tastes in art, and the evolution of art appreciation. Several art historians have interpreted the painting as revealing Sargent's psychosexual thoughts.
A common concern on a first date is running out of conversation topics — or worse, having a painful, boring conversation. In very nearly hiding one of the girl's faces and subjugating the characterization of individuals to more formal compositional considerations, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit is as much about the subject of childhood as it is an example of portraiture. He regarded himself as a master craftsman and famously said he had no ability to see into the human soul. The painting hangs between the two tall blue-and-white Japanese vases depicted in the work; they were donated by the heirs of the Boit family. She describes Sargent and the art world that he and Edward Bois faced on two continents. We latch onto the talent and prestige of the masters who came before us to bring dignity and a sense of class to our modern efforts, but without paying respect to their skill, their training, and especially their time laboring over each single work of art. Was there an application process? I think laziness is more of an obstacle.