figure-painting

10

Charles Sprague Pearce (1851–1914, United States/France)

Rural paintings

Pearce was an American artist, working in the Naturalist style of Academic realism. He is best-known for his depictions of French peasants at work and rest.

John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925)

Fumée d'Ambre Gris - 1880

Smoke of Ambergris was the product of John Singer Sargent’s trip to North Africa in the winter of 1879–80. One of two paintings that he sent to the Paris Salon of 1880, it is his own interpretation of orientalism, a common theme at that time in which artists sought out exotic subjects. The painting depicts a heavily draped woman inhaling the smoke of ambergris—a resinous substance found in tropical seawater and believed to come from whales. It was thought in the Near East to be an aphrodisiac, as well as a safeguard from evil spirits. The model, of whom Sargent made several sketches, probably lived in cosmopolitan Tangier. In a society that forced women to be intensely private, working as a model would have relegated her to its outer fringes. Her robes and mantle are of a type worn by both men and women throughout North Africa, but the details of the costume and setting come from different regions and social classes. The painting is a mélange of Moroccan objects and customs that Sargent encountered in Tangier and Tétouan. Clark Art