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Salmon River

John Singer Sargent

American Art

The tumbling water in the foreground is a spectacular example of the use of drybrush, a technique in which the brush, charged with paint just fluid enough to allow it to transfer to the paper, is dragged across the surface. Since the paint remains mostly on the high points of the paper, the application is characterized by skips (here adding texture and suggesting rushing water).

Sargent applied an initial layer of green paint over the area of the water and allowed it to dry. He then mixed zinc white into his pigments to create light blue, pink, and lavender colors, which he dragged over the initial green layer, visible through the skipping brushwork (see image below). Over the pastel-toned colors, he added drybrush zinc white impasto highlights and dark green washes.
MEDIUM Opaque and translucent watercolor and graphite
DATES 1901
DIMENSIONS 9 15/16 x 13 15/16 in. (25.3 x 35.4 cm) frame: 17 7/8 x 23 7/8 x 1 7/16 in. (45.4 x 60.6 x 3.7 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Purchased by Special Subscription
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION John Singer Sargent (American, born Italy, 1856-1925). Salmon River, 1901. Opaque and translucent watercolor and graphite, 9 15/16 x 13 15/16 in. (25.3 x 35.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by Special Subscription, 09.837 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 09.837_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 09.837_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2012
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