To further visitor appreciation of John Singer Sargent Watercolors, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will offer an array of programming this fall. Visitors can attend lectures including In Sargent’s Footsteps with Richard Ormond––Sargent’s grandnephew––and Sargent’s Sibling Rivalry with Malcolm Rogers, the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Director. A second lecture with Rogers was recently added, due to popular demand. Art classes range from Watercolor with Friends, a one-night workshop, to a Five-Week Intro to Watercolor studio art class, while drop-in watercolor demonstrations run on Sundays in October and November. Additionally, the MFA Guide and Learning Gallery offer opportunities for more in-depth exploration.
The Art of Watercolor Painting—Drop-In Artist Demonstration in the Druker Community Room
Every Sunday, October 13––November 17, 2013
Drop-in artist demonstrations of watercolor technique allow guests to create their own small watercolor painting. Local artists Wendy Soneson and Amy Ross teach visitors about the medium favored by John Singer Sargent during the early 20th century and what made his work such a sensation. Wendy Soneson has been teaching watercolor for 30 years in the Boston area, and Amy Ross is a Cambridge-based watercolor painter who attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Watercolor with Friends: One-night Workshop—Adult Studio Art Classes in the Druker Family Pavilion
Thursdays October 17 (SOLD OUT), 31 and November 14, 2013, 6:30–9 p.m.
Tickets: $35 (members), $50 (nonmembers)
This evening workshop begins with a visit to the exhibition John Singer Sargent Watercolors then offers visitors the chance to try this artistic medium. The instructor discusses Sargent’s unconventional approach to watercolor, focusing on how he combined delicate washes of color and bold, dense strokes of the brush to create his dazzling effects. The second hour features a watercolor demonstration. On the way to the studio, students can stop at Taste Café and Wine Bar to pick up wine, coffee or something cold to take with them to the art-space next door.
John Singer Sargent: A Fresh Look—Morning or Evening Course
Tuesday, November 5–November 19, 10:30 a.m.–Noon, Remis Auditorium
Thursday, November 7–November 21, 7–8:30 p.m., Alfond Auditorium
Tickets: Four-session course: $60 (members), $75 (nonmembers)
Individual sessions: $25 (members), $30 (nonmembers)
This three-session course taught by experts introduces new revelations and ways of looking at the artist’s broad talents, travels and techniques.
Watercolor Beginner—Adult Studio Art Classes in the 3rd floor studios (SOLD OUT)
Wednesday, September 25––December 4 (excluding November 27), 10:15 a.m.–12:45 p.m.
Tickets: $240 (members), $285 (nonmembers)
This adult studio art class explores the expressive potential of the medium: color, composition, form and transparency and techniques such as washes, wet-in-wet, dry brush and color mixing. The class includes gallery visits, group discussions and guidance in developing personal imagery.
Watercolor All Levels—Adult Studio Art Classes in the 3rd floor studios (SOLD OUT)
Wednesday, September 25––December 4 (excluding November 27), 6:30–9 p.m.
Tickets: $240 (members), $285 (nonmembers)
This adult studio art class allows students to discover the potential of the medium while exploring color, composition, form and light. Advanced students work from still life, landscape and personal imagery.
Five-Week Intro to Watercolor—Adult Studio Art Classes in the 3rd floor studios
Thursday, September 26––October 24, 6:30–9 p.m.
Thursday, October 31––December 5 (excluding November 28), 6:30–9 p.m.
Tickets: $140 (members), $175 (nonmembers)
The beginners course teaches the fundamental skills for painting in watercolor, starting with beginner's techniques and developing essential skills. Participants explore the expressive potential of the medium: color, composition, form and transparency, and techniques such as washes, wet-in-wet, dry brush and color mixing.
In Sargent’s Footsteps (SOLD OUT)
Wednesday, October 23, 6:30 p.m., Remis Auditorium
Tickets: $15 (members); $18 (nonmembers)
Featuring: Erica Hirshler, the MFA’s Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings and Richard Ormond, deputy director, National Portrait Gallery, London; director, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
This lecture offers a personal look at John Singer Sargent’s life and art. Richard Ormond, Sargent’s grandnephew and one of the foremost authorities on the painter and the man, joins the MFA’s Erica Hirshler, co-curator of John Singer Sargent Watercolors, for a conversation about Sargent’s watercolors and the people and places they depict.
Sargent’s Sibling Rivalry
Wednesday, November 13, 7 p.m., Remis Auditorium (SOLD OUT)
Wednesday, January 15, 7 p.m. – second lecture added due to popular demand
Tickets: $10 (members); $13 (nonmembers)
Featuring: MFA Director Malcolm Rogers
From murals to watercolors, Boston boasts some of Sargent’s greatest masterpieces. Malcolm Rogers tells the story behind two of the artist’s most ambitious portraits of young women: the Boits, innocent, sheltered and psychologically ambiguous; and the Wyndhams, sophisticated, socially prominent and sexually emancipated. Rogers explores Sargent’s career, his ambitions and frustrations and poses the question: Is Boston’s beloved Boit Daughters the greater portrait?
Made in the Shade: Sargent's Watercolors of Italian Villa Gardens (SOLD OUT)
Sunday, December 8, 2 p.m., Remis Auditorium
Tickets: $10 (members), $13 (nonmembers)
Teresa Carbone, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art at the Brooklyn Museum and co-curator of John Singer Sargent Watercolors, follows Sargent’s footsteps through some of Italy’s most beautiful and renowned Renaissance and Baroque gardens. She explains how the artist selected his subjects, where he stood when painting them and what he chose to edit out.
Tours and Multimedia
A number of multimedia elements are available to visitors in the gallery and online. A mobile tour comprises 16 stops and provides one-of-a-kind exploration of the artist’s watercolor paintings with Malcolm Rogers, Erica Hirshler and Richard Ormond. In a 12-minute in-gallery video, artist Monika de Vries Gohlke explores Sargent’s techniques by attempting to re-create his well-known work, Melon Boats (about 1908). The exhibition also includes a 16-screen video wall that introduces visitors to the artist’s fascination with light, color and shadow. The Sargent exhibition page on mfa.org features a slideshow of key works and a video demonstrating Sargent’s watercolor techniques.
The Learning Gallery
The Learning Gallery, located in the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery, provides a wealth of information about Sargent’s painting techniques, the 1909 and 1912 exhibitions at the Knoedler Gallery in New York and the artist’s collaboration with Edward Darley Boit. The Gallery will include the diary of Boit’s younger brother, Robert, which features correspondence between Boit and Sargent about mounting the Knoedler exhibition, along with a checklist from the show. To provide additional insight and for comparison, four works by Boit and three by British watercolorists are also on view in the gallery.
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its encyclopedic collection, which includes an estimated 450,000 objects. The Museum’s collection is made up of: Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 9:45 p.m. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions, including John Singer Sargent Watercolors. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 p.m. admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The MFA’s multi-media guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit mfa.org or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.