|The Fall and Rise of
The reasons for the demise of Sargent's popularity and his art's rebirth
In November of 1910 Roger Fry, art historian and critic, put together a show of impressionist painters that had remained rather obscure from the public eye. He felt that contemporary art had grown stale and wanted to show artists that had a vibrancy he wanted to draw attention to. It was, he felt, a new impression, and he along with the Desmond McCarthy (Secretary to the exhibition committee) termed a new word: Post-Impressionism.
The show was a shock to the art world. Gaugin, Cézanne, and Van Gogh were the three main artists featured. All had their roots in Impressionism, but all had felt that the emotion of art had been neglected in the search for the "truth" of impression of light on an object.
Roger Fry put it this way in the introduction to the catalogue of the show:
[These artists] say in effect to the Impressionists: "You have explored nature in every direction, and all honour to you; but your methods and principles have hindered artists from exploring and expressing that emotional significance which lies in things, and is the most important subject matter in art . . . (The Impressionists and their Legacy, P.645, Barnes & Noble, 1995)Fry was saying, to those who would listen, just how many Grainstacks can Monet paint? Or in Sargent's case that year -- just how many studies in Light before we can move on to the emotional significance of the art?
With the exception of
both Gaugin, and Van Gogh were mostly unrecognized when they were doing
their work, the vanguard of art, as Fry saw it in 1910, wanted
solid and enduring that these three had already achieved.
Van Gogh had wanted to
turmoil he felt and if distortion helped -- he used it.