John singer Sargent RA - About the Artist


Setting Out to Fish

The American painter, John Singer Sargent RA (1856-1925), is the star of the Royal Academy's forthcoming exhibition, entitled Sargent and the Sea, which opens on 10th July 2010.

Although best known as a portraitist, Sargent was also an important landscape painter and it is his seascapes and maritime works that form the core of the Academy's latest show.

During a highly productive career he produced more than 800 oil paintings and well over 2,000 watercolours. In addition, we created innumerable charcoal drawings and sketches.

The installation showcases more than 80 drawings, watercolours and paintings which were created during the artist's visits to European destinations including Paris, the Normandy and Brittany coasts, Capri and Morocco.

The works come from the early part of the artist's career and the display focuses particularly on the period from 1874-1900. The exhibition also features a scrapbook that demonstrates Sargent's draughtsmanship skills. The drawings demonstrate his impressive knowledge of boats.

The exhibition is jointly organised by the Royal Academy and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and curated by Sarah Cash, Bechhoefer Curator of American Art at the Corcoran, and Richard Ormond, art historian and Sargent scholar.



Sargent and the Sea by Sarah Cash and Richard Ormond

Sargent and the Sea
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Highlights of the Exhibition

Setting Out to Fish

Setting Out to Fish

When planning major works it was common practise among artists to create studies, or trial runs, and Sargent was no exception. The installation features the artist's major piece Setting out to Fish En Route pour la peche, (1878). The painting, which depicts fisher folk in the Breton fishing port of Cancale, was displayed at the Paris Salon of 1878. Sargent created a number of oil studies and these will be displayed in close proximity to the painting which will provide visitors with a valuable insight into the planning that went into these works of art.

The exhibition will feature a number of the artist's other well-known works including Girl on the Beach and Fishing for Oysters at Cancale (1877), Neapolitan Children Bathing (1879) and Wharf Scene (1879).

Avibrant display of boating watercolours, painted during the early twentieth century during a visit to Venice, accompanies the exhibition.

Exhibition Catalogue

The display will be accompanied by a full-colour catalogue published by Yale University Press and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The publication features essays, exploring various aspects of the artist's maritime paintings, by Richard Ormond, Sarah Cash, Erica E. Hirshler, Stephanie L. Herdrich and Marc Simpson, all Sargent scholars.

The exhibition will be on show from 10th July - 26th September 2010. Tickets and further information are available from the Royal Academy of Arts.


  • Royal Academy of Arts


John Singer Sargent Setting out to Fish En Route pour la peche, (1878), supplied by Royal Academy of Arts via