Good Things Come In Small Packages

A week ago, the Amon Carter opened a major exhibition focusing on Charles Russell’s watercolors. As one visitor to the show related to me, “I have been a fan of Russell for many years but never realized that he painted so many watercolors.” Part of the strength of this exhibition is that it brings together nearly 100 of the artist’s works in the medium, providing a comprehensive view of Russell’s subject matter and technical progression.

There is also power in more intimate, focused art exhibitions. In two weeks, we will be opening an exhibition on John Singer Sargent that includes just four works, all on loan from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. In the midst of a historic renovation and expansion, the Clark has generously loaned masterworks from their collection to institutions around the world—including our neighbor the Kimbell Art Museum, which will host a concurrent exhibition of the Clark’s holdings entitled The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark.

Fumee d'Amber Gris

John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), Fumée d'Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris), 1880, oil on canvas, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, image © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA, 1955.15

The Amon Carter’s dossier exhibition, Sargent’s Youthful Genius: Paintings from the Clark, centers on the artist’s Fumee d’Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambregris). Painted in 1880, the iconic work not only evokes an exotic mystery but shows Sargent’s capacity for immense subtlety as a painter. A study in whites and creams, the painting is, as the artist himself said, about color. The volumes it speaks on the subject are a distinct pleasure to behold. The exhibition opens March 11—don’t miss it.