John Singer Sargent's The Interior of a Hospital Tent
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The Interior of a Hospital Tent 
The Imperial War Museum, London
Watercolor on paper 
38.5 x 51.9 cm (15 3/16 x 20 7/16 in.) 
 Jpg: local source

On September 24, Sargent was near Peronne with the Fourth Army Prisoners of War Transit Cage which was were they held the Prisoners taken from the front before sending them further back. Sargent made sketches here, but while doing so caught a bad case of influenza. 

He was taken to the 41st Casualty Clearing Station near Roisel were he stayed a week in bed under a hospital tent. 

The painting here depicts a haunting calmness of morning with the wounded men which shared his tent. In a letter to Mrs. Isabella Stewart Gardner he writes of horrific fitful nights   . . ." the accompaniment of groans of wounded, and the choking and coughing of gasses men, which was a nightmare -- it always seemed strange on opening one's eyes [the next morning] to see the level cots and the dimly lit long tent looking so calm, when one was dozing in pandemonium." (Letter to Gardner, Charteris, P. 216) 

John gifted ten of his watercolors to the Imperial War Museum with the only stipulation that all be exhibited together -- he felt that his watercolors showed best if they were exhibited as a body of work. 



John Singer Sargent, An Exhibition -- Whitney Museum, NY & The Art Institute of Chicago 1986-1987

By:  Natasha Wallace
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Created 1999