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Bruce Sargeant and His Circle: Figure and Form
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2010
Mark Beard, himself an artist and also the great nephew of the Bruce Sargeant, provides a survey of Sargeant's work. After the foreword the book opens with Timeline, a chronological look at the life of Bruce Sargeant. Then follows the relatively brief introduction, which discusses Sargeant's life and work in the context of his time and in relation to the other artists of his circle: fellow students and their teacher Hippolyte Alexandre Michallon.

The book then concentrates on the plates and features the artists individually, each with a brief introduction: Bruce Sargeant (55 plates), Hippolyte Alexandre Michallon (10 plates), Edith Thayer Cromwell (11 plates), Brechtholdt Streeruwitz (12 plates), and Peter Coulter , a student of Edith Thayer Cromwell (7 plates). There are an additional thirty or more pictures including photographs of the artists and further examples of their work and that of other artists', press cuttings. Also included in the introduction is a facsimile of a letter from Sargeant to his friend Johnny in which Sargeant discloses that he has fallen in love with a young man, describing in detail the seduction; the first of several affairs Sargeant was to have.

This is a well designed beautifully produced book, one might even say lavish with its gold edged pages, the plates are mostly reproduced to a good size, many full page with a few double page. Sargeant's work itself is simply stunning, beautifully drawn young men, mostly athletes, rendered in the artist's relatively limited palette with predominant blue/grey tones. It is a tragedy that Sargent died so young, the result of a sports accident, yet as Thomas Sokolowski points out in the foreword, maybe had he lived the only recourse would have been despair as he grew older and wiser in the ways of the world.

However, the truth of the matter it appears is that the real name behind all the work in this book is Mark Beard himself, who uses the various identities, for each of whom he has created biographies, to suit the different styles in which he likes to work, from the more graphic work of "Sargeant", apparently a spoof on John Singer Sargent, to the expressionist work of "Steeruwitz" and the post-modern "Coulter".
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on 17 March 2013
A very interesting and informative volume about a painter I knew nothing about! Excellent illustrations and text make this a thoroughly useful volume.
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