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John Singer Sargent

American Art

Regarded as one of the leading portraitists and watercolorists of the Gilded Age, the expatriate John Singer Sargent was also a consummate draftsman. He drew prolifically and precociously from a young age, as evidenced by this sketchbook, which he used while traveling in Germany in 1871–72, at age fifteen. Sargent filled many of the pages with his exercises in copying classical statuary from the famous plaster cast collection of Dresden’s Albertinum museum. The sketches show a variety of approaches, from broad, linear strokes to refined tonal modeling.
MEDIUM Graphite, charcoal, watercolor and white chalk on paper
DATES 1871–1872
DIMENSIONS Sketchbook: 9 3/16 x 11 7/8 x 1/2 in. (23.3 x 30.2 x 1.3 cm) Loose sheet - with watercolor of volcano: 3 5/8 x 4 7/8 in. (9.2 x 12.4 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Bound sticker affixed to inside front cover, upper left: red sticker printed with, "SCHREIB-MAL & ZEICHNEN / MATERIALIEN / ADRIAN BRUGGER / 2. THEATINER STRASSE, 2 / MUNCHEN" Watermark on pages 1, 10, and 16: "DE CANSON FRERES / VIDALON-LES-ANNONAY"
SIGNATURE Signed on page 1, across top in graphite: "John Sargent 1871." and "John Sargent- / [Mu]nich"
INSCRIPTIONS [see Description]
CREDIT LINE Gift of Bronson Binger
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Sketchbook of 16 extant pages of different colored papers (white, tan, blue-gray) bound between cloth-covered cardboard covers; drawings of various subjects, including Rembrandt portraits, classical statuary, pyramids, various animals (deer, camel and horse with cart), a street scene (theatrical subject?) and architectural details; one loose sheet with watercolor painting of volcano tucked inside back cover. All drawings in graphite unless otherwise noted. Front cover inscribed in graphite (very faint) "Munich / Dresden / 1871-2" p. 1: sketch of Rembrandt portrait and other schematic faces, signed across top "John Sargent 1871." and "John Sargent- / [Mu]nich" and inscribed below portrait "Rembrandt" p. 2: sketch of Rembrandt portrait (bearded man with cane), inscribed below image "Rembrandt. Munich." p. 3: sketches of heads and child with basket p. 4: sketches of deer p. 5: sketches of deer p. 6: (recto) heads of camel; (verso) landscape with pyramids in watercolor over graphite p. 7: very faint sketches of deer p. 8: sculpture bust of satyr, inscribed lower left "Dresden. [WP.?]" p. 9: street scene with man in ruffled collar serenading couple embracing under stairs in charcoal and white chalk p. 10: study of sculpture bust in charcoal with touches of white chalk; [following page excised] p. 11: rough sketch of horse-drawn cart, horses, & pedestrian with satchel p. 12: landscape sketch of rocky cliff p. 13: sketch of door with plant-covered staircase p. 14: sketch of Venus statue p. 15: (recto) sketch of statues: Hercules type and heads; (verso) sketches of statues: Demeter type, gladiator, hands, and others p. 16: (recto) rough sketch of Venus de Milo; (verso) rough sketches of heads Loose sheet tucked inside back cover: volcano in watercolor, inscribed on verso "Kivéeski" Inside back cover inscribed at lower left "PN[S?]N"; has paper pocket and cloth loop holder for drawing instrument
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION John Singer Sargent (American, born Italy, 1856–1925). Sketchbook, 1871–1872. Graphite, charcoal, watercolor and white chalk on paper, Sketchbook: 9 3/16 x 11 7/8 x 1/2 in. (23.3 x 30.2 x 1.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Bronson Binger, 1996.231 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.231_p00a_front_cover_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE front, 1996.231_p00a_front_cover_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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