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Gertrude Kingston 
(After John Singer Sargent)
Edward Materson - American Artist Sculptor, Painter
Charcoal on toned paper (Canson Meintes)
Jpg: Edward Materson 
Edward:  Some years ago, with permission, I copied the little girl seated in the foreground in "The Boit Children" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It was a wonderful experience getting that close to the work of a man I so much admire.  

In the same vein, these drawings or sketches, were done with a view toward self-improvement; much as Sargent, himself, made copies of Velazquez and Franz Hals.    

Natasha: This is wonderful! When did you first learn about Sargent? 

Edward: Probably as a young man visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I grew up in New York City (the larger city of five boroughs) and made visits into Manhattan at a very young age on school trips, etc.

Marchioness of Bath
(After John Singer Sargent)
Edward Materson - American Artist Sculptor, Painter
Charcoal on toned paper (Canson Meintes) 

Natasha: You say you did these towards improving yourself.  What is he able to do that just blows you away? 

Edward:  If you look very carefully at his use of value which is so evident in the black and white charcoal drawings you find that he is playing with all the notes. There are rich black passages luxurious and powerful which juxtapose very subtle halftones, particularly around the eyes and mouth. 

Mrs. Richard D. Sears
(After John Singer Sargent)
Edward Materson - American Artist Sculptor, Painter
Charcoal on toned paper (Canson Meintes)

Natasha: Is there a medium of his that you love more than others? And are there things in Sargent's art that you love but don't necessarily want to emulate in your own? 

Edward:  His oils, to me, display a virtuosity that is almost musical. The rich, daring brushstrokes evidence the ability to "think on one's feet". There is none of that laborious "peck, peck, peck" that seems to be common in so much realism today. I can't think of anything I would not want to emulate other than the tendency of some of  society portraits to stylishly elongate figures and necks. Aside from that his work is, as Henry James remarked of Sargent himself,  "civilized to its fingertips". The strange thing is that such an artist could also display such passion. 

Natasha: Is there a painting that demonstrates what you are talking about?  

Edward: There are so many examples both in oil and watercolor where he makes one bold stroke count for hundreds by a lesser artist. Lady Agnew has always held a fascination for me and looking again at a copy of her portrait I am impressed by the gold locket chain. Think of drawing that line, with all its subtle variations of color and tone over the already carefully modelled flesh and clothing tones. Also the single stroke highlights on the right ear (left to the viewer), the nose, the eyes. They are not only correct in value and color but, of course, also in placement. 

Natasha: For any artist, especially a mature artist, there is always that balance between learning form old masters and finding your own artistic voice. Sargent studied many old Masters and would do so throughout his entire life -- well beyond his student years. At the peak of his game he was still going off to Spain, or somewhere to copy El Greco or whomever. For you, how does this play out. Is it the joy of going into uncharted waters? Are you searching for borrowing a new techniques which you can add to your quiver of arrows? Is it just a continual evolving process? Is it emotional that you're connecting with the lineage of artists past? 

Edward: All of the above. I believe one must adopt a certain assurance as a professional artist which is actually at odds with the humility one needs to progress in his or her art. Leonardo Da Vinci said something to the effect that "he only will advance in his art whose critical facilities exceed his talent." 

(After John Singer Sargent)
Edward Materson - American Artist Sculptor, Painter 

Natasha:  I know you're a big fan of Robert Henri, so am I, and want to show him as a "featured artist". I also assume, especially from where you are from (Maine) that you must draw a lot of inspirations from Winslow Homer as well, If you could pick one moment in time to go back to, and sort of sit on the wall like a fly and observe, where would you want to go and whom would you want to see 

Edward: That's a tough one. While I admire the work of Winslow Homer very much I think I would like to have been a contemporary of Sargent and had the pleasure of watching him work. The idea of being part of his world is appealing because no matter how much technical prowess any of us develop today (and there seem to be more artists working beautifully in a realistic vein all the time), none of us can actually recreate that world of elegance that all the people in Sargent's world evoke. Women no longer spend hours elegantly and demurely reading in beautiful gardens. Men wear Levi's and sweat shirts, not jackets and ties. All of that is pretty foreign to today's world, at least it seems to me. 

Natasha:  Thank you so much Edward, for sharing  these with us and sharing some of your thoughts. I  known from reading your site that you prefer your art to speak for itself. I personally like that philosophy. So I know that it's sort of against the grain for you to sit down with me and talk about it.    

Edward: There's a distinction between my explaining what Sargent's work means to me and the idea of giving a lengthy explanation of what my own work means. I dislike spending more time reading a title than looking at a work. 

Natasha:  You don't mind me inviting everyone over to your site, do you? 

Edward: Of course I don't mind. 

Natasha: Imagine that. 


The Art of Edward Materson

What's New
What's New Page Winter 2003 

August 9, 2002 

Paintings Added: 

Other artists 
Romaine Brooks (1874 - 1970) American/British/Italian portrait painter 

Paintings added to Philip Alexius de Laszlo  and Giovanni Boldini    

July 29, 2002 

Paintings Added: 


July 26, 2002 

Paintings Added: 


July 11, 2002 

Paintings Added: 

 Janet Jewell writes about "Base of a Palace"  

July 9, 2002 

Paintings Added: 


Philip Alexius de Laszlo  --British portrait painter, (1869-1937)  

A number of paintings added to Giovanni Boldini   

May 31, 2002 

Currently I have been extremely busy trying to get my site moved to my new location which has been eating up enormous amounts of time. There are e-mail friends I have been completely neglecting. I haven't forgotten you, my mail bag is full and will respond in time. The old site has been teetering on the precipice of falling off into a big black hole and I fear it is not long for this world -- it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I have been working like crazy moving picture plates over, and as I do it I sometimes add text, or possibly a better image -- it's a very slow process but everything else has been put on hold as I franticly try to get this stabilized. 

People want to know how they can help. I added a page of contributors and clarified how you can help. The problem about doing something like this 3 years into a project is that I'm going to miss some people, miss some old friends even -- I'm sorry, if I have missed you, let me know. 

Paintings Added: 

Padre Sebastiano     1905-1906  
Sketch of Santa Sofia    1890-1891  

May 23, 2002 

Paintings Added: 

May 17, 2002 
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Paintings Added: 


What's New Page Winter 2001/2002