What's New Page Winter 2002
Decemeber 19, 2001
Christmas everybody. I'm getting much closer at reaching the vision I had
set out for this site. I'm making progress, substantial progress, on a
number of fronts which is kind of exciting and this last month has been
very productive. I think you will find a nice present to unwrap.
The first item on the agenda is to
highlight my new automatic What's New update service. My updates have been
more spread out now. I don't know why -- other than it takes some
time to do a what's new page -- I guess I'm getting lazy, In any regards,
if you log in your e-mail it will automatically inform you when I make
changes to this page.
in a little color to the Chronology pages. In fact this is kind of how
I had thought of doing this whole thing. I first start off with a bare-bone
chronology of his life and then add the meat with essays and exhibits which
should really start to fill all of this out quite nicely. In fact, I'm
a little tickled at how nice its coming together -- even better than I
thought. Which is simply wonderful.
If you have noticed, I've added a
listing (under the index) of other artists I'm highlighting such as Boldini,
and have now added with more to come:
Added places Sargent went that were significant or of note along with Studio
and added thumbnails to: Nicole
Kidman does Sargent: Glamor photography "in the tradition of
John Singer Sargent"
I thought it was high time I got
around to giving what Wonsug Jung sent me a better presentation. Hey, it's
only taken two years to get this right, that's not too bad . . .
I thought it quite topical given
Nicole Kidman has just been voted the top entertainer of the year -- whatever
that means. I did love her in Moulin Rouge (though the film itself just
didn't quite make it . . . for some reason, I don't know. I was really
in their corner pulling for them. It was one of those movies I wanted so
badly to love and it just missed the mark somehow. I still want to
see it again when its out in video)
Stephanie sent me a link showing
Edison Filmed Carmencita.
Extra Extra read all about it: Genway
Gao saw differences in other paintings (namely Mrs
Charles Russell) at the Retrospective show and things develop further
wants help identifng a painting on a book cover
Matthew Sargent writes about his relation to JSS. In the past I've
gotten a number of letters from relatives, or people who were pretty sure
they were related but didn't know how. I thought it would be a good idea
to add a Genealogy of Sargent's family. I realize this probably doesn't
have any interest to the vast general population, but it does help, at
least for me in trying to understand all of these cousins that he knew,
painted and hung around with -- at least it's a start at understanding
But enough of all this nonsense.
Do you know what's happier than a pig wallowing in manure? Why it's Natasha
shopping for Christmas and it's time I get out there and do some more,
so take care and see you next year everybody.
November 14, 2001
Don't you just love it when a plan
Just for a minute sit back and visualize
this -- play along with me just for just a minute -- humor me:
Okay, how many art museums are there
in the world? A lot, right? And think of all these museums putting an image
of all their artwork on the net -- every one of them, from studies and
sketches, to paintings and sculpture -- everything on the net. Everybody
that has a Monet, or a Sargent, or a Homer, or a Turner, or a whatever
-- Every painting, everywhere, in every collection, digitalized and
placed onto the net. Just think of it!!!
Now, imagine if you will a small
voluntary army of enthusiasts that go around to all these museum sites
compiling just the work of one particular artist, each at their own little
site, the entire collections of each artist's work put together. Just think
of it!!! Thousands of people doing thousands of websites, compiling the
entire works of each artist!!!!!
The quantum jump in the understanding
of art history could be phenomenal! It could be unprecedented! It would
be like walking out of Plato's cave on each and every artist. The possibilities
in understanding are staggering.
And you know what? It's happening.
Little by little it's happening. I'm seeing it coming together, just in
the three years I've been working on this it has been snowballing. A lot
of credit has to go to some very visionary people at some of the key institutions
in the world. They could have been proprietary with their artwork and narrow
minded. But they chose to get these images out into the net, such as the
Tate Gallery in London; or the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC;
and others are following in line such as the Boston Fine Arts; and even
the smaller ones now. It's happening!!! And it's damn exciting!!!!
Just think of it?
Quite frankly, I'm having a hard
time keeping up with all the new images that are appearing on the net --
BUT I'm not complaining!!!
God bless you Tate Gallery -- and
all the rest of you
Sowa writes about his trip to Sargent's gravesite.
October 20, 2001
the beginning there was Sargent and Sargent created the murals and the
portraits. And prior to this, the portraits were formless and void and
darkness was over the surface of all canvases. Then Sargent said, ‘Let
there be Red'; and there was Dr Pozzi at Home. And Sargent saw that Red
and felt that the Red was–"
"I don't know. It just stops."
"What do you mean it just stops?
What did he feel?"
"I mean it just stops. There's no
"Is it torn out? Missing?"
"No, it just stops."
"Things don't just stop. Are you
sitting on it?"
"Look behind you."
"I'm telling you–"
"Things don't just stop! Get up!
It's probably behind your seat."
"I'm telling you--"
"It must be under this pillow."
"Would you stop."
"Where did you set it down?"
"Remember? You got a phone call at
"Would you cut it out!"
"And you put it down at the checkout
"Is this your bag?"
"It's not in there."
"Any other pockets?"
"Cut it out. It just stops. There's
no more. Would you listen. It just stops! . . . . What? . . . "
"It's from Adam Sutcliffe."
"I've never seen that before."
"It's in your bag."
"I didn't check that out. Let me
"Let me see."
"No hold on a minute."
"What is it?"
" . . . Oh yeah . . . ."
"What? Let me see?"
"Just wait a minute! Let me read
it first! . . . . Oh my God. . . ."
"This is it."
"Let me see!"
"Oh my God! . . ."
"Your not going to believe this."
"Cut it out. Let me see it."
"Here. You read it yourself. You're
going to love this!!!!!"
by Adam Sutcliffe:::::::::::
you ever read something that just looses so much of its meaning if it is
read only in excerpts? I mean have you read things that the author had
no intention to mislead you, but when you finally got to the original source
and read the whole thing completely it just took on a flavor and a meaning
that just defies being quoted in small chunks?
There has always something about
reading Henry James. I remember from the time I was reading his work in
school I just fell in love with the power of his pen and the way he could
manipulate a sentence -- a sentence that could go on for ever sometimes,
but a sentence that would have more weight and meaning than an entire body
of some contemporary writers. For as long as I can remember, I have been
in love with the mechanics of James words and how they can sometimes sing
off the page. It's not so much his stories. In fact, I can't even get through
his novels without getting completely worn out and bored, but some of his
short stories are remarkable.
When I was growing up, I remember
my mother reading to me (both my parents did actually) and one of the
children's books (there were many) was "A Child's Garden of Verses"
by Robert Louis Stevenson. My dad, when I was a little older read to me
Treasure Island, Kidnaped and David Balfour (he was a big Stevenson fan).
It was hard not to fall in love with the stories too. My dad was really
into ships and boats, and there always seemed to those kind of things in
the stories. To come to think of it, some of the fondest thoughts I have
of my parents are of the times when they read to me right before bedtime.
I remember pulling on my dad's arm begging him to read one more chapter
please! please! please! with my mother insisting that it was far too late
and that I needed to go to bed and that there would always be tomorrow.
I think those books lasted many, many nights. But I'm digressing.
When I got to highschool, I discovered
the power of letters. There was a book of correspondence between Robert
Louis Stevenson and Henry James which I checked out. You could tell that
between them there was a shared understanding of a whole idea of the written
word. This whole period for me has always captivated me. One of the most
rewarding things for me, as a fan of all these guys, is to discover how
they all interacted, when I had always compartmentalized them before. I
will never forget the letter -- and it was one of the last ones of the
book -- a letter that Henry James wrote to Stevenson's wife after her husbands
death in condolence. It floored me. In one of the most difficult times
for anyone to express themselves, James had managed to write one of the
most beautiful things I have ever read -- EVER! Just sitting here now,
I'm touched by my memory of the way he expressed, not only what Stevenson
meant to him, but at how he could not fathom what her loss must be for
someone who was that much closer to his greatness. It was the most powerful
thing I have ever read. I've never been able to find that book since.
Some things James does, he just does
very very well; and to excerpt it in quotes, you just loose so much of
the flavor. Some meals are much more than the sum of their ingredients;
and some essays are much more than the sum of their ideas. Henry James
article for Harper's Magazine in October 1887 called "John S. Sargent"
is such an article and it bears reading in its entirety to get its full
S. Sargent" by Henry James
I admit it. I'm a sucker. If someone lobs up a big fat juicy softball pitch,
I swing at it. Carol J. Lancaster, PhD on October 16th did just that when
she asked "Why are you so interested in Rosina Ferraro and George Barse?"
It was just
too inviting and I couldn't help myself. My answer is just way over the
top but Stephanie saves me by giving a more concise answer. (To
your at a party with a group of people that you sort-of-kind-of know --
at least by reputation, and in conversation someone just blurts it out.
It was the obvious question, THE question on everyone's mind
and the whole room grows deadly silent. The tension is so thick a knife
aint going to cut it. Everyone had been thinking it. Everyone was dying
to ask it. But nobody had the guts, at least until now. And there the question
sits like a pregnant bride without a groom and everyone is looking at each
other, and all you want to do is just melt away and laugh out loud that
someone finally had the guts to come out and ask it.
Gao is the one that asked the question, but instead of slinking away, I
stepped up with my big fat pregnant belly and took it to the next level:
IS the truth about Madame Ramon Subercaseaux painting?
is something I've been working on for about a year. Yeah, a year, I can't
believe it. It's a little off topic, but it really fills in the color a
little fuller of Sargent's story. One of the best ways of studying someone
is to study who they hang out with. Here is an artists that most of us
don't hear a lot about, at least in the States. I intend to do this with
more of John's art friends that were close to him. I just don't know when
I'll ever get around to it. I have a lot of this on my hard dive already,
it just takes a lot of time to get it online, but I think you'll enjoy
this one. I do.
The art, the
life, and the work of Giovanni
September 11, 2001
August 28, 2001
those that are interested in art only you better skip all this because
I spent most of my time trying to learn how to host a website.
What I found
out so far I should have done this a long time ago. Still haven't sorted
out all the cost involved but here is what I've found out so far.
I went over
to Allen Rodgers's site at fastlinksoftware.com.
And I downloaded the program called "TheServer". This is amazing, it was
easy to download and got it up and running in minutes. Had a little
problem since I'm running windows 95 and needed a new windsock but Allen
laid it out so easily and fixed it right away. The program claims to allow
you to be your own server if you have DSL (I have it on order) and all
you have to do is point people to your domain name at your computer and
. . . presto chang-o your computer itself is now part of the Internet.
Supposedly you don't have firewall problems because there is no portal
for uploading and downloading -- but this is all beyond me.
I went over
and registered a new domain name for the gallery through a place where
I work. The gallery will hensforth be called, or the address will be called
"jssgallery.com". It's a simple enough name. Obviously "johnsingersargent.com"
would have been the preferred name, but that's already taken. I considered
the name of johnsinglersargentgallery.com but that puts it over 28 characters
and (as I just learned) some browsers, e-mail servers etc can't handle
names greater than 28 characters, so "jssgallery.com" it will be. Hope
you like it. Don't try it yet, the name is reserved but it's not yet pointing
In truth I
don't think the domain name really means all that much. I anticipate most
of my traffic will be from search engines and referrals from people like
you who are giving links to my site. The quality of my pages and the gallery
in its entirety will assure enough web exposure. Build quality and they
will come, right? The domain name -- for me anyway -- is just a way of
anchoring the pages to a permanent name address which I can then move to
other servers in the future without having to reformat every page -- I
figured the shorter and simpilar the better.
Now the thing
with the DSL is (as I'm learning -- there apparently isn't just one kind
- imagine that -- they can't make anything simple can they?) What apparently
I signed up for is an ADSL which doesn't allow (in my case anyway) for
a "static" IP address (the same URL code each time I log in) Apparently
with my ADSL I will be given a random IP address, within their family of
IP addresses every time I log on. I went ahead and signed up for this because
it's a promotional thing and I get the modem and instillation free. The
ADSL cost $49.95 per month and I get 128K uploading and 768K downloading.
If you figure I'm paying $20 bucks a month now for web service another
another $29 for significantly faster service is worth it. With that
I get 4 Meg of web space (laughably small, but I might be able to set up
my frontpage there pointing to a body of pages someplace else). I haven't
yet priced the IDSL (which is the static IP address 144K upload / 144k
download -- which is what I'll need to be a web server, but I figured since
the modem and instillation is free for this lesser service I'll let them
get me up and running to see if DSL works for me before I look into taking
the next step (I'll have to actually buy a modem if the higher speed and
Brian F. Crowley (the artist that did the photo of Lady Agnew on the bus)
since he has his own domain name and site and asked him where his pages
are housed. He wrote back and said he's at hostpro.com
which has 100 meg space for $20 per month.
I got in a
chat room and quickly found from other friendly digit-heads (I guess I'm
one now as well) At Dimension
8 they give you 200 meg at $16/month or $99/year and another
unbelievably low price at ehostingbiz.com
for $10 for 150 meg space a month or $20 a month for 300 meg space. I'm
kind of leery of these sites and wonder if they are legitimate. Does anyone
know of any others that are good that you know are legit?
seemed I needed to find out how much space I really needed. A did a file
search of my John Singer Sargent section of my computer and it revealed
that I have 6,947 files, in 116 folders all containing 215 meg of space.
Now all of that is not up on the net.
talk city you get 12 meg of space for each website. I started with just
one site, of course, and grew to having 7 which I seamlessly have put together
-- did you even notice? The structure is a bit odd, but it works:
was my very first site) houses the thumbnail Chronology section madame
x and some of the other first paintings. Then I added Johnsingersargent
which houses the front page, forum, bibliography, and some painting plates
then I started
piling on sites as they filled up:
or a total
of 7 separate sites for 84 meg of space. And that is all about 95% full.
A lot of the
paitnings are not actually at my site such as the work at Harvard and the
National Gallery of Art in DC which you branch to off of my pages. This
and accounts for a big chunk of the difference between what i have on my
hard drive and what i have online (there is also file notes and stuff).
It appears that I can get by with 100 Meg Maybe even less if I'm really
shrewd and juggle some of the painting on free servers. Or maybe being
my own server will really work if the IDSL price isn't too much.
just deleted was my Jssmap site which contained most all of the Venice
pages. It really freaked me out that they wuld do that, but I think what
must have happened is that the site was registered under an old e-mail
address. They must have shown the address to have gone bad and just automatically
deleted the site. I can't really imagine that they would take the time
to weed out rouge members who are badmouthing their pop-up ad campaign.
But it doesn't really matter because it put the fear of God in me to get
going on doing something permanenet. The work I have to do to get the 12
meg of pages back up from the Jssmap site might as well be towards something
Ok, with the
DSL on order, I can't really do anything until that's up and running. I
need to start restructuring the website for the new domain name of jssgallery.com,
the long work of changing links on every single page now begins. I figure
I'll get the main page up (of course) and the thumbnail Chronology section
up on a new site, leave the old links to the painting plates and come back
and correct those when I have time. I think its important to get the main
pages off talkcity, and some of the major essays, the rest can follow more
There is no
sense in going through the trouble of deleting the old talkcity pages,
just leave them up and change the front page to point to my new location,
in time people will understand what I'm doing and the double exposure won't
How this is
all going to be paid for is unknown. I just got to believe that i'll figure
something out, maybe poster orders and book orders CAN cover this
cost if I can keep it low enough. Do you think?
I spell all
this out so clearly (or not so clearly as the case may be) because I know
I have a number of people out there pulling for me. Everybody might as
well consider themselves on my board of directors, what is there to hide?
Nothing. And there is everything to gain from your input and the
helpful suggestions that I'm getting means a lot to me. Quite frankly I'm
not smart enough to invent the wheel all over again
Oh yeah, before
the Hindenburg exploded on me, I was working on a major rewrite of Frederick
Law Olmsted. You can see a first draft on my major rewrite here.
August 17, 2001
Head of an
Mrs. John White Field 1881-1882
August 8, 2001
work is finished when we can no longer improve it, though we know it to
be inadequate and incomplete. We are so overtaxed by it that we no longer
have the power to add a single comma, however indispensable. What determines
the degree to which a work is done is not a requirement of art or of truth,
it is exhaustion and, even more, disgust"
-- Emil Maurice
writer b. 1911)
the end of April I found myself emotionally exhausted. It was a culmination
of a number of factors. The site had led me into the commerce of Sargent's
work as it is today, and made me face an art market that I, personally,
find very unpleasant. If this was a job, if I were being paid, it would
be something that I would just have to learn to live with; but it's not
and I'm not, and I found that my research was leading me away from what
I derive joy from and into an area that is nothing more than drudgery to
me. Secondly, as with any relationship that doesn't have rejuvenative forces,
Sargent and his art began to grate on me. I found my relationship to my
subject to have grown into an old grumpy couple. The elitist tendencies
of the gilded age and especially the patrons that hired him were bothering
me and I was becoming too distracted and disgusted. Thirdly, the server
where this is housed (talkcity) started to impose very aggressive ads that
no one can get around. Large, deceptive ads that pop right to the
center of the screen. All my efforts, all my time were at risk of becoming
useless since no one in their right mind would put up with such blatant
encroachment. In reflection I came to the realization that I have over
a thousand hours invested in this thing - and to what end? By the end of
May, after completing the page of "The
Market Place" I was used up, bled dry. There was nothing left in the
well. Though the gallery was very much incomplete, I couldn't stand to
even look at it.
Stick a fork
in me. I'm done.
though, the site hasn't substantially suffered from those god-awful ads
(though measuring its impact and at what point people just give up is unknown
-- I personally find it so annoying it drives me nuts). If the web
counter service is to be believed, it has remained nearly as popular as
ever with unique user hits between 50 and 100 people a day, 430 a
week, projecting at a rate of 22,500+- unique visitors a year -- a really
quite phenomenal number given there isn't any major exhibitions of his
work going on at the moment, or Sargent's "second rate" status in the minds
of many in the public surfing for historical art. The gallery is reaching
people -- irregarless of the annoying ads -- and is turning them on to
Sargent and a period few know much about. The demographics of the viewers
(which I've teased from letters sent to me) are made up of highly educated
(self taught or otherwise) and students. They represent the very cream
of the population surfing the net from every corner of the world. It was
the audience I had actually wanted to reach. For me, it was always about
quality and not quantity. One web surfer of intellectual curiosity is worth
40 mindless picture surfers. It would seem that on the cusp of realizing
something truly wonderful, I was emotionally walking away form it.
It hadn't been
the first time I had stepped away. Looking back, there's been other periods
when I felt I'd reached the end and I just needed to take a break. I knew
that when I returned, if I returned as intensely as I have in the past,
something had to change with a new focus and a new direction. I had to
step back and give it distance and time. Privately I wrote to a number
of people for ideas, but in the end I knew it had to come from me.
and time, the depleted well of vigor of enthusiasm is once again
dripping with the tease of possibilities and the joy of discovery
always hovering around the next page. I know what could be -- what
might be -- if I just reach out and grabbed it.
what needs to be done doesn't make it any easier. In fact, this time its
going to be much more difficult. I stand at the beginning of another adventure,
anticipating, fidgeting, and quite frankly scared to death. The hurdles
seem to loom ahead of me larger and higher than before. It's not just one
mountain this time, it's a whole range of mountains that tower up into
the clouds like one of Sargent's watercolors -- the seemingly impenetrable
Alps; and for me to climb it alone is frightening. It's too risky. It's
not worth it. Where is the payoff? I'm almost certain to fail. With
over a thousand hours invested, the personal risks now seem very real.
A substantial chunk of time is already invested, and instead of hedging,
I'm proposing to risk more? It seems a bit crazy!
And so there
I have it -- what separates me from what is, and what could be. The challenge:
to take the John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery move it off of TalkCity
and with its own domain name. Every single page needs to be reformatted
(which will be close to a hundred hours of work I estimate) for this new
site and somehow, someway, I need to find founding to pay for it. The thing
is, the Gallery is bigger than someone's hobby -- or it could be, but it
needs backing that, quite honestly, I don't have. I have run this
on a shoestring and invested my own personal time with not one penny profit.
I have looked at models for getting royalties from book orders and poster
orders and I don't see how that's going to be sustaining. Clearly there
has got to be other funding sources to make this thing work.
This will take
some time to complete. It won't happen in weeks but over many months. I'm
a completely convinced that this has been a worthy endeavor and has done
a great deal to enlighten the world about a great artist. That there is
a hunger for sites of substance beyond the flashy graphics and that there
is a way (somehow) to support it. The efforts by so many other people who
have contributed here is worth saving. It's worth keeping free. It's worth
keeping available to the world on the net.
The Blind Musicians
Mrs J. W.
The Tyrol 1913-1914
Study at San Vigilio, Lake of Garda 1913-1914
at San Vigilio 1913-1914
Mrs. Harry Vane Milbank 1883-1884
Large Rocks 1911
Ralph Curtis on the Beach at Scheveningen 1880
Geoffrey Murray-Smith "mug" 1915-1916
Woman (Gigia) 1879
Torre Galli 1911
Mrs. Daniel Sargent Curtis 1881-1882
writes about George Randolph Barse & did the feminist movement influence
Vettori writes: Paul Delvaux & Madame X both transend time
Ann Newbold Vigneronrites writes about her family's connection to two
of sargent's paintings
added to King
Philip IV (of Spain) 1879
House museum has a new
Sargent I Knew" by Mary Newbold Patterson Hale. Orinally published
in The World Today, November 1927
New Page Spring 2001