'Sargent and the Sea': WaPo critic reviews the 'pioneering' Corcoran show

  • September 17, 2009 12:27

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John Singer Sargent, "Low Tide at Cancale Harbor," 1878, oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Zoe Oliver Sherman Collection, 22.646. Photograph © 2009 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Washington, D.C. - By the end of 1879, John Singer Sargent, one of the greatest of American painters, was all wet, washed-up. I don't mean his career had tanked. He was only 23 years old, and had just begun to find critical success. Rather, most of Sargent's first pictures were not his famous portraits, but scenes built around water. Those early pictures are the subject of a pioneering show called "Sargent and the Sea," which just launched at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

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