I had a real treat today, seeing some amazing work at two beautiful clubs in NYC. My first stop was to see some pieces at The Players. My top priority was to see their Sargent collection, but they have some other gems there, including a Gilbert Stuart portrait. I only found one Sargent and was disappointed that the portrait of Joseph Jefferson as Dr. Pangloss was hung way too high and above a mantle. It was really very difficult to appreciate it since, as a painter, I wanted to get nose-to-nose with it.
The rest of the club had work by other artists which was really nice to see in person. As always, seeing work in person is crucial for art appreciation and as a painter studying technique.
My next stop was to meet up with my friend, Prof. Neill Slaughter at the National Arts Club. Like The Players, the National Arts Club is a beautiful building with a classically designed interior; they're also right next door to one another, which was a surprise to me.
We were there to see a show of Sorolla's gouache "sketches" which were used in preparation for his Vision of Spain, which is at the Hispanic Society; I'm champing at the bit to see these massive paintings, but it's not open until April 6th.
I went into this exhibit expecting little gems and was quite surprised to find huge gouache paintings. Sorolla painted on huge sheets of kraft paper which was almost like something from a school project; the paper has a warm brownish tone and makes me want to give it a try myself.
Seeing the work in person showed me some interesting techniques also. One thing that Sorolla would do was to literally cut and paste sections to rearrange compositions. He would cut out individual figures or entire groupings and paste them to other areas... brilliant! These were very much working drawings and reminded me of a blueprint or rough draft. Many areas also had writing on them and some areas even had calculations written down.
Neill and I were thinking about how Sorolla probably never expected these works to be viewed in this fashion, but it was an amazing window into his working process. The whole day was great and I'm so thankful to Neill for sharing this experience with me. The exhibition is open to the public until April 26th and I highly recommend checking it out!