- Historic Sites
Painted On Water
Turn-of-the-century American painters came to Venice for its ancient splendors and pearly light. In a few years they captured its canals, palaces, and people in a spirit of gentle modernism that looks better than ever.
June/july 1984 | Volume 35, Issue 4
Sargent’s watercolors of Venetian architecture seem equally unconcerned with the expectations of any hypothetical viewer. When he chose a famous building as his subject, he used an odd angle or a close-up view, entirely avoiding the conventional flattery of the great that his portrait sitters demanded. In general, Sargent’s pictures of Venice were not exhibited until after his death, and they constitute a freer and more innovative body of work than his reputation as an artist of fashion might lead us to anticipate.