Photography and Travel in Sargent’s Spain
“Photography and Travel in Sargent’s Spain” draws upon photographs and printed matter from Sargent’s contemporary, illustrating another view of Spain at his time.
A distant land celebrated for its fusion of cultures, Spain in the time of John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) fascinated many. As railroads began crisscrossing the sun-drenched countryside, more visitors could reach more places. Artists like Sargent went to explore: he studied works by Spanish masters, viewed architecture and gardens –with their rich blend of influences, and encountered a land and people that fueled his creative imagination. A craze for all things Spanish ensued, especially in the United States, where many Spanish artworks entered private collections.
A vibrant visual culture emerged in Spain as commercial photographers such as Juan Laurent established studios that catered to the influx of visitors. As this imagery was collected and dispersed, it entered the popular imagination and defined the region in ways that still influence us today. These materials –the period postcards, fine photographs, and albums– allow us to see Spain as Sargent did, from its landscapes, architecture, and art to its music, dance, and costumes.
This exhibition is part of the program related to the major exhibition Sargent and Spain at the National Gallery of Art on view from Oct. 2, 2022 to Jan. 2, 2023.