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Pomegranates, Majorca
Pomegranates, Majorca

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At the turn of the 20th century, John Singer Sargent began to diverge from painting portraiture, the genre which had brought him his first critical and financial success. Sargents peripatetic nature began to lure him to exotic parts of the world such as Syria, Greece and Egypt, as well as to beautiful, lush areas in Southern Europe including Spain and Italy that he had never previously visited. Usually accompanied by friends and family who shared his passion for travel and art, Sargent spent months exploring these distant locales. Newly liberated from the demands of portrait commissions and his patrons, he painted the landscape with ease and joy, and turned his attention towards new subjects such as interior and street scenes. The works he created during these travels, of which Pomegranates, Majorca is one, display a striking emphasis on texture, light and color as well as a sense of immediacy that reflects the underlying energy and emotion with which the artist was painting in this period.\n\nIn 1908 Sargent and his group of companions, which often included his sister, Emily, and his cousin, Violet Ormond, decided to make Majorca their next destination. This small Mediterranean island off the eastern coast of Spain had a long history of attracting foreign artists and writers to its idyllic beaches and sunny atmosphere. Sargent, explains Warren Adelson, was also captivated by the islands architecture and formal gardensgiving way to rural life and landscape. Sargent spent six weeks on the island in June and July.(Warren Adelson, et al., Sargent Abroad: Figures and Landscapes, New York, London, Paris: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1997, p. 117). So impressed and inspired was Sargent by the sights he observed in Majorca that he returned there with Emily the following September and stayed for another two months.\n\nPainted in 1908, Pomegranates. Majorca epitomizes the ebullience with which Sargent executed the works from this innovative stage in his career. Here he isolates an area of trees within the landscape to provide a close-up perspective of the subject matter, presenting it as a dazzling symphony of brilliant yellows, greens and peaches, which interweave to form the structure of the composition. The vibrant yellow blossoms seem to reflect the warm Spanish light, illuminating the entire canvas. His active handling of the oil medium creates a richly patterned and dynamic surface punctuated by highlights of dappled light and thick impasto. Simultaneously, his short, rapid brushstrokes express a remarkable fluidity that is similar to the effect he achieves when working with watercolor.\n\nWhile emphasizing the sense that Sargent has painted his subject from direct observation, his painterly manner of execution also contributes to the dazzling sense of abundance and natural beautiful that the painting strongly conveys. Ultimately, the artist imparts an immersive experience of nature and its beauty that reveals these pivotal works as not only personal statements [but] gifts to himself; they were his resolution of outdoor painting. They were his spontaneous, snapshot vision. They represent the culmination of his powers as an observer able to render quickly those effects of light and color that fell into his field of vision, without regard for composition of traditional balance. They were the free field for his eye in which he could paint as he saw it, life as it was before him, friends if he chose to, and, above all, color and the effect of light on it (Warren Adelson, Sargent at Broadway: The Impressionist Years, New York, 1986, p. 60).\nBears estate stamp JSS (on the reverse)


Oil on canvas


Sargent, John Singer


Please contact the American Art department for this condition report: (212) 606 7280 or In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.


22 1/2 by 28 1/2 inches


New York, Scott & Fowles, Ten Sargents from Sargent's Own Collection now Owned by Mrs. Stevenson Scott, February-March 1948 Spokane, Washington, Spokane World Exposition, Our Land, Our Sky, Our Water, April-November 1974, no. 56, illustrated New York, Adelson Galleries, Sargent Abroad: An Exhibition, November-December 1997, p. 175, illustrated p. 118 Lausanne, Switzerland, Foundation de l'Hermitage, L'Impressionisme Américain, 1880-1915, June-October 2002, no. 47, p. 88, illustrated Broadway, England, A Celebration of the Work of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) and the Broadway Colony, June 2010 New York, Michael Altman Fine Art, John Singer Sargent: An Exhibition of Over Forty Paintings and Watercolors, October-December 2013, no. 26, illustrated


Art News, no. 23, August 15, 1925, p. 4 William Howe Downes, John S. Sargent: His Life and Work, London, England, 1926, p. 326 Evan Charteris, John Sargent, London, England, 1927, p. 289 Charles Merrill Mount, John Singer Sargent: A Biography, New York, 1955, no. 81, p. 449; 1957 ed., p. 359; 1969 ed., p. 473 Meredith Martindale, John Singer Sargent a Mallorca, Palma, Majorca, 2009, pp. 40, 117, illustrated pl. 26, p. 80 Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1908-1913, vol. VIII, New Haven, Connecticut, 2014, no. 1491, pp. 74-75, 356, illustrated p. 75


Estate of the artist (sold: Christie's, London, July 24, 1925, lot 124) Scott & Fowles, New York (acquired at the above sale) Mrs. Stevenson Scott, New York, by 1948 Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, 1959 (gift of the above; sold: Sotheby's, New York, December 2, 1982, lot 55) Private collection (acquired at the above sale) Berry-Hill Galleries, New York, by 2000 Private collection, 2002 Michael Altman Fine Art, New York, 2003 Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2009


Bears estate stamp JSS (on the reverse)






1856 - 1925


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