John Singer Sargent


John Singer Sargent, “Study of a Young Man (Seated)”, 1895, Lithograph, Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University

In October 1895, Galerie Rapp in Paris organized one section of a large exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts that marked the hundredth anniversary of the invention of lithography by Aloys Senefelder. The British printer Frederick Goulding, who had developed an improved transfer paper for lithography, was involved in the show, and he encouraged Sargent and other London artists to participate, even offering to supply them with materials and print their work.

Sargent created six lithographs at this time; he selected the above print for the Paris exhibition, which moved on in November to the Rembrandt Gallery in London. This is the most developed of composition, and demonstrates the artist’s progressive engagement with tone. To form strong highlights falling across the sitter’s shoulders and some of the drapery folds, portions of the paper have been left in reserve, in a manner that echoes Sargent’s brilliant handling of watercolor.

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