Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Art Review - "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" by John Singer Sargent

It was a treat to view two oil sketches of the figures from John Singer Sargent's painting "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" recently at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Kimberly and I saw the final painting at the Tate during our 2019 trip to London, making the chance to see these sketches all the more interesting and informative.

The completed painting is a masterpiece, but the oil sketches are no less beautiful in their immediacy. Also interesting to note is the more extreme lighting, especially on the face of Polly Barnard, the figure on the right.

The final piece was painted at the home of fellow painter Francis Davis Millet, who incidentally perished with the sinking of the Titanic. The models, Dorothy and Polly Barnard, were the daughters of illustrator Frederick Barnard, chosen for their hair color. Sargent worked for a number of months on the painting, for only a short period each evening, when the light was just right.

“Sketch for ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’” • John Singer Sargent 
 • Oil on Canvas • 1885

“Study for ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’” • John Singer Sargent • Oil on Canvas
• 1885 • 28.5” x 19.5”

“Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” • John Singer Sargent • Oil on Canvas
• 1885-1886 • 5’9” x 5’1”

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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