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John Singer Sargent: The Male Nudes Hardcover – Apr 15 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Universe (April 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789302616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789302618
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 1.5 x 25.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,073,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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The beauty and gentle eroticism of John Singer Sargent's paintings and drawings of nude males are the raison d'être of this otherwise somewhat slight book. Most are exquisitely languid, with such tender touches as a pink tinge on the buttocks of a boy lying prone on a beach in Capri, or two intimate "tommies"--privates in the World War I British Army--napping on a riverbank after a swim, heads together. Then there are a few nude wrestling matches, à la Eadweard Muybridge and D.H. Lawrence. And, as the author somewhat frantically insists, there are works that possess an "uplifting and spiritual aspect."

The wonder is that Sargent's sisters preserved these works--which the artist had kept private--after his death. They are thrilling, as much for Sargent's astonishing facility with a brushload of color as for the sensuous subjects. The essay may be skipped by readers who wince when informed that any subject of a society portrait by Sargent was "transformed into a fashionable denizen of the Edwardian age, whomever he was." Author John Esten sniffs prissily at the suggestion that Sargent may have harbored homoerotic feelings, while the works themselves often unabashedly focus on the genitalia of the models, and the ones that don't are filled with the kind of closeness and warmth of observation that makes the model's soft skin seem almost palpable. Linger over the book's 18 color plates, which are a lasting, luscious pleasure; the scores of black-and-white drawings are similarly inspired. --Peggy Moorman

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25 1999
Format: Hardcover
A disappointing selection of works, most of which are available already in several books on Sargent. And why they did not include the beautiful watercolor which is illustrated in Trevor Fairbrother's article "A Private Album" I cannot understand, as I have never seen it reproduced anywhere but in "Arts Magazine" from 1981. I have a feeling that there is another book out there if anyone cares to make a REAL effort and put it together.
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Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe there was a time when the images in this book would have been considered pornographic. But if Singer's portrait of Madame Pierre Gautreau ("Madame X") was considered scandalous because he painted her with a dropped shoulder strap (later repainted in its proper position), then you can understand why these male nudes (mostly charcoal sketches and quick watercolors, but also some finished oil paintings) were kept unexhibited for so long. We have Sargent's sisters to thank that they were not destroyed outright, but carefully placed with museums for safekeeping.
If text is the clothing of art books, then Donna Hassler has provided THE MALE NUDES with less than a loin cloth. But there's not much that needs to be said, anyway. The plates should be enjoyed in their own right. I especially enjoyed the charcoal drawings. They are contextless and their strong outlines give them extra punch and a sense of iconic completeness. Though well rounded and subtly shaded, they remind me somehow of Jean Cocteau's spirited line drawings. The watercolors reminded me of Winslow Homer's. All in all, a nice little book.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book that I truly enjoyed. Not being a critic, but just a lover of fine art, I found this long hidden selection of John Singer Sargent's male nudes fascinating, and beautiful produced. There are drawings in black & white and many in color in this fine selection. This book was published on the occasion of Sargent's major retrospect that traveled to several major galleries in 1999.
Sargent began some of these drawings in his adolescence, and continued drawing male nudes throughout his career. However, they were never exhibited or seen by many other people until now. Some of the models became enduring friends with the artist, and remained by his side during his entire lifetime. There is a wonderful introduction that is very helpful in understanding this very talented and creative artist. I highly recommend this book to anyone that knows and enjoys Sargent's artistic work. For those of you who don't, this is a great introduction!
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