|Paintings - General . . .
why are some of the charcoal drawings called "mugs" and others are not?
From: Paul Darby
darby and email@example.com
Date: Sat, 22 May 2004
That's a great question Paul. The easy answer is that I'm just not very consistent in labeling. In fact, there are no Mugs which are officially entitled with the word "Mug" in them -- that I've seen anyway -- this is purely my convention. Though I should quickly add that it was Sargent who would call these quick charcoal close-up portrait drawings "Mugs" himself and would refer to them as such in his correspondence.
When I first started giving file names to images of artwork I would use the painting title for the file name but apparently there are a number of works with the same name (preparatory sketches, oil studies, or just a second version of a portrait, for example) I began adding the word "Mug" in the title as it mirrored the file name and it made it easy for me to distinguish between what the artwork was.
Although it may appear, out of context,
that the title might be editorializing of the sitter, it was really
more self deprecation on the part of Sargent and what he considered
to be low art at best or certainly not of the level of a "serious" artist
-- in many instances he held great affection for the sitter. But they were
what they were (in his eyes) regardless of the sitter, quick simple gestures
given almost as if they were party favors or a way to dodge a pleading
patron pressing for an oil portrait commission -- they were just his Mugs.