John Singer Sargent's View from a Window Genoa, Italy
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View from a Window Genoa 
John Singer Sargent -- American painter  
The British Museum, London 
Watercolour with pencil and oil 
40.3 x 53 cm 
Presented by Mrs Violet Ormond  
(sister of the artist) PD 1936-11-16-2 
 Jpg: The British Museum

This painting is a wonderful mix of drawing, watercolor, and oil. It was done from what appears to be his hotel room in Genoa, Italy, overlooking the bay with a clutter of boats at anchor in the harbor. You can almost smell the salt air and hear the sounds of the boats in this picture. He uses his paintbox propped open to hold back the curtain and we see his portfolio left open in the chair. 

The painting is quite beautiful and is a bit unusual, though not altogether unprecedented. From time to time we are given glimpses of his lodgings on his travels  such as: 


The Hotel Room 
c 1908 

and  . . . 

An Artist in His Studio 

Here, he paints his artist friend Ambrogio Raffele in his hotel room which is used as a studio. The bed and desk double as an easel to prop up a large canvas dwarfing the room. You can't help but smile as you come to realize that both men are amusingly cramped into this small space; and Sargent is painting a painter painting. 

A good chunk of his life is spent in hotels, or as guests of patrons and friends. It was nothing for him to live out of suitcases and material objects were relatively unimportant to him.  And it would be from his nomadic lifestyle, partly, that he would always claim to others that he was half gypsy.  

Special thanks is given to J Dzikeik who sent me the link to this image. Thanks J.D.


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


By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2005 all rights reserved
Created 3/29/2001