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  1. #1
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    John Singer Sargent Sucked....Were People on Drugs?

    John Singer Sargent

    When I was a student at the Minneapolis School of Art, 1952 - 56, the name of Sargent was practically a dirty word. I never once heard Sargent referred to in any way other than condemnatory. Sargent, in the views of the art school faculty (which I believe was representative of the art world generally at that time, was an example of the worst that art can aspire to. This bewildered me, because I admired Sargent so very much. His work was endlessly fascinating to me. Well, that was then. Today (2005) Sargent is enjoying a tremendous worldwide resurgence of interest. The great museums are competing with one another to feature his work in major exhibitions. The Metropolitan Museum is a good example. Their recent Velasquez/Manet exhibit featured the work of the great Spanish master hung alongside works by artists who had been influenced by him. The show included many works by Sargent. Most of the other artists, notably Manet himself, suffered terribly by the comparison. Next to Velasquez, Manet looked downright amateur. Sargent was the star of the exhibition, with his works appearing vibrant and strong when hung in juxtaposition with his great Spanish mentor. The reputation of Sargent rose even higher. Prices for Sargent works at auction are rising astronomically. He was one of my super-heroes in the fifties, and he remains so today.
    http://www.worldofportraitpainting.c...ont/heroes.htm

    I had an art instructor....an Art Center Graduate by the way....tell me that this type of painting is provincial, and that instructor graduated Art Center in 1994.

    What the hell is going on with people?

    Maybe people that suck at drawing just get jealous of people that don't.

    Where's Ilaekae when you need'm?
    He was around when this BS was go'n down.

    Admittedly, John Howard Sanden is probably then most conservative artist ever, but come on.
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  3. #2
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    Had Sargent been born 50 years earlier, he would have had his name printed in any artbooks nowadays. Unfortunatelly while he was doing his wonderfull picturecque stuff, people like Picasso had broken with the artworld conventions. There was just too much "Exciting " stuff going on compared to which Sargent looked oldscool like f. So he suited swell as a punching bag for all those "art is dead, stop painting, make art" sort of people.
    At least that's my version of an explanation.

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    artists == herd mentality

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    I agree with aesir - some of the most talented artists of our generation are working in games or film (and are right here on this forum) and aren't getting the mainstream recognition. Not like the the .. things they feature in magazines, media and galleries. One can only hope time will reveal the frauds for what they are and the innovators for what they are. (And come on, what IS "postmodern" anyway?!)

    If you can appreciate Sargent and get fired up about this, then that is a step in the right direction.

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    Sargent was the ultimate establishment artist. He became extraordinarily wealthy by painting the obscenely wealthy. In his time, and especially immediately after, it was impossible to separate his work from its social milieu. You can't understand the art of the 20th century without understanding the history of the 20th century, and the pivotal event of the past 100 years is WWI. The effect of the war was cataclysmic, and negatively effected the reputation of the 19th century culture that was seen as responsible for it for generations.

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    Plus its always in vogue to hate the art of the generation that directly proceeds you.

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    Plus its always in vogue to hate the art of the generation that directly proceeds you.
    I always thought that was a 20th century phenomenon....even up to the impressionist era, at least there seems to be some continuity. Then the 20th Century hits and everybody becomes bipolar.

    You're either traditional or abstract.
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    You Ain't no Nina!.....

    "Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoSeRider View Post
    I always thought that was a 20th century phenomenon....even up to the impressionist era, at least there seems to be some continuity. Then the 20th Century hits and everybody becomes bipolar.
    Again, WWI + technology.
    Read.

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    I thought Rembrandt was overrated too until I actually saw a painting of his in person.

    "Holy Shit."

    My exact words.

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    So long as we're on the topic, one should mention Sargent was one of the most flattering portrait painters in history - worthy of study on this alone, although his colors and high gloss glazing are also great.

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    did anyone else notice that Oppenheims' wife has encredibly large arms and really small breasts..?? ...thats hot
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    people would always hate on Norman rockwell at my school. Saying his work was cliche and comodified. I always admired his skill as a draftsman and his abillity to capture what was as of that era the idealised common american scene.
    Last edited by Robert.B; April 7th, 2008 at 03:24 PM.
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    I did not recognize the name of John Singer Sargent until I looked at his work on the referenced website. When I saw the portrait of Lord Ribblesdale I realized that I had seen it before. I believe an article on Sargent appeared in Time magazine some years ago, and this portrait was featured in the article. I forget most of the article's content, but one thing that stuck in my mind was the effective way Sargent dealt with drapery. Lord R's trousers as they bunch around the knees is an example. While I had forgotten the artist's name, his work set the standard for my own treatment of drapery. So, thank you, NoSeRider, for bringing this artist's name back to our attention.

    There is now, and always has been, a tendency to judge artists/musicians/actors/etc. according to the politics they hold, who they associate with, or the way in which they choose to earn their living. This is unfortunate, as I believe they should be primarily judged on how well they communicate what they have seen and felt in the world. On viewing the portrait of Lord Ribblesdale, I would say that Sargent succeeded very well in communicating what he saw in his subject.
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    I had a similair experience with Alma-Tadema and Waterhouse upon discovering them while I was in school. I got these books out from the art library, poured over them, then hauled them to class expecting great praise from my teacher for uncovering some great forgotten artist. Upon bringing the books up in class I recieved a heavy sigh from the teacher, who then went on to explain how the artwork was racist, classist, AND objectified women. Not only wasn't it good art, infact it was the worst kind of art in her mind. Obviously that kinda took the wind out of my sails, although I wasn't going to take her word on something that I knew I liked. In a program with a faculty that all pretty much did the same kind of art, anything else was not particularly welcome, and was judged based on how it looked from their particular tower.
    Ia Ia Cthulhu Fthagn

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    Waiting for Hyskoa to join this. I had a funny conversation with him about what should be done to change the art world.

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    lol art

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    What should be changed?
    I think everybody should only paint realistic and naked nymphs with flowers in their hair, taking bath in beautiful lake (or Ancient Greek bath house). Then it would be perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabo View Post
    Waiting for Hyskoa to join this. I had a funny conversation with him about what should be done to change the art world.
    Two words: Selective wipeout.

    I'll make the selection if others can't or wish to debate this endlessly and then we can put this entire modern art problem behind us and start the healing process.

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    I really don't get it, what is so bad about this guy?

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    Two words: Selective wipeout.
    Maybe like this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_realism

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    So...your saying that this guys paintings are a form of "political doctrine " ? eh?

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    John Singer Sargent Sucked....Were People on Drugs?
    Back in the 1970's, you could buy a William Bouguereau painting for $7000.
    lol, everybody is on drugs in the 70's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabo View Post
    Waiting for Hyskoa to join this. I had a funny conversation with him about what should be done to change the art world.
    haha! art burning convention ftw!
    sketchbook: http://c ghub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6480
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  26. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.B View Post
    people would always hate on Norman rockwell at my school. Saying his work was cliche and comodified. I always admired his skill as a draftsman and his abillity to capture what was as of that era the idealised common american scene.
    Yeah, that's common too, but a lot of people don't realize he also did a lot of really poignant civil rights illustrations that just aren't as widely published. And the man had some flat-out fucking CHOPS dude.

    Brandywine school, Sargent, Gerome, Velasquez, Caravaggio, Ingres, Repin, Fechin - jesus, there's tons of Russian and Chinese masters... I only vaguely knew these guys' work before going to the Atelier and I'm crazy about them now. But yeah there are a lot of amaaaaaazing artists out there that are largely forgotten and hated-on by post-moderns... I even grew up in a household filled with modern and post-modern art books, my mom's favorite artist is Miro - whose work I DESPISE and always did.

    Read up on Caravaggio - that guy's life would make an *awesome* drama/thriller. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravaggio

    All hail Sargent

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    Did I miss something? How did we get from JS Sargent to Socialist realism?
    "Change is a virtue my friend... if you want to escape, all you have to do is make up your mind."
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonie View Post
    Read up on Caravaggio - that guy's life would make an *awesome* drama/thriller. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caravaggio
    It has done!

    CARAVAGGIO

    And the BBC did a drama doc of his life a couple of years a go.

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  30. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyskoa View Post
    Two words: Selective wipeout.

    I'll make the selection if others can't or wish to debate this endlessly and then we can put this entire modern art problem behind us and start the healing process.
    or this

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerate_art

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    Quote Originally Posted by m@. View Post
    Sieg Heil !!

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    It's so hard to follow the plot without a program
    The truth will set you free,
    but first it's gonna piss you off!

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    The comment in the first quote about manet suffering from hanging next to mr. velasquez was spot on. I was at that show with Carl Dobsky a few years ago and the room was absolutely packed. There was a large velasquez portrait hanging right next to one of manets better works. I said to the crowd "are the rest of you thinking what I am thinking...is it just me or does that velasquez makes manet look completely insensitive and clumsy?"

    The room gasped. People gasped. I insulted Manet. hahaha. One rather stodgy old woman looked at me and said "it's just you". I responded by telling her "open your eyes people...look at the faces...look at velasquez...what eloquence...now look at the manet...jeez...not even close to the same level of artistry and soul".

    I had a good laugh...but i do not think many saw what Carl and I saw by comparing manets mud with velasquez deft works.


    The art world has many levels of taste...some people think great work tastes like crap...others think crap tastes great. no need to argue over it...but it was still fun to point it out to the crowd of gawkers who were more into the manet than the velasquez. After all, without velasquez, there would be no sargent (as they exist)...and definitely no manet.

    The works showing where manet stole one of his compositions from was particularly nice to see at that exhibit.

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