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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)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Purchased by Special Subscription
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