Mountain Scene (1908)

Sargent, John Singer (1856-1925)

Mountain Scene
Watercolor and gouache over graphite, 25.4 x 35.6 cm
Princeton University Art MuseumPrinceton

Sargent mastered the medium of watercolor as an adolescent, rapidly perfecting and gradually simplifying his virtuoso technique. He produced watercolors in larger quantities after 1900 when he began traveling more frequently, partly in order to escape the pressure of his portrait commissions in London. The plein air landscapes that he created during these trips—and which he referred to as “snapshots”—include summary renditions of rugged Alpine scenery such as this one, which reflects a tendency toward abstraction in Sargent’s later work. In this evocation of what is probably a portion of the Mont Blanc massif in Switzerland, Sargent uses his dry-brush technique to capture the play of light on the distant multicolored peaks, punctuating the foreground with a lone, spindly tree. (PUAM)