In Melon Boats, very likely painted in Haifa, Palestine (in present-day Israel), Sargent dramatically cropped the forms of these ordinary work vessels and employed vivid colors and bright white accents to replicate the effects of intense sunlight. He devoted the upper half of the composition to a wide swath of sail, onto which he layered tinted washes to suggest the filtering effect of the cloth.
To learn more about the variety of Sargent’s methods in this work—from blended wet washes to dry brushwork—view the video in the next gallery.
- Artist: John Singer Sargent, American, 1856-1925
- Medium: Opaque and translucent watercolor with graphite underdrawing
- Dates: ca. 1908
- Dimensions: 14 x 19 15/16 in. (35.6 x 50.7 cm) frame: 23 7/8 x 29 13/16 x 1 3/8 in. (60.6 x 75.7 x 3.5 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 09.829
- Credit Line: Purchased by Special Subscription
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). Melon Boats, ca. 1908. Opaque and translucent watercolor with graphite underdrawing, 14 x 19 15/16 in. (35.6 x 50.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by Special Subscription, 09.829
- Record Completeness: Good (68%)