In portraits by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), sitters assume elegant stances, the fabric of their dress richly depicted in broad, sensuous strokes of paint. Sargent brought his subjects to life, but he did much more than simply record what appeared before him. “Fashioned by Sargent” explores the artist’s complex relationship with his often-affluent clients and their clothes. The exhibition reveals Sargent’s power over his sitters’ images by considering the liberties he took with sartorial choices to express distinctive personalities, social positions, professions, gender identities, and nationalities.
In the years around 1900, before Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) created some of the most recognizable abstract canvases of the last century, he turned his eye to the characteristic sights of the Dutch landscape: canals, windmills, fields, flowers, and trees. Mondrian’s earlier and lesser-known works reveal a restless and experimental artist who constantly reinvented himself, absorbing new influences and moving away from conventions of representation.