Skip Navigation

Melon Boats

John Singer Sargent

American Art

In Melon Boats, very likely painted in Haifa, Palestine (in present-day Israel), Sargent dramatically cropped the forms of these ordinary work vessels and employed vivid colors and bright white accents to replicate the effects of intense sunlight. He devoted the upper half of the composition to a wide swath of sail, onto which he layered tinted washes to suggest the filtering effect of the cloth.

To learn more about the variety of Sargent’s methods in this work—from blended wet washes to dry brushwork—view the video in the next gallery.
MEDIUM Opaque and translucent watercolor with graphite underdrawing
DATES ca. 1908
DIMENSIONS 14 x 19 15/16 in. (35.6 x 50.7 cm) frame: 23 7/8 x 29 13/16 x 1 3/8 in. (60.6 x 75.7 x 3.5 cm)
COLLECTIONS American Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 09.829
CREDIT LINE Purchased by Special Subscription
RECORD COMPLETENESS
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.