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In the Library: Photography and Travel in Sargent’s Spain

Past Exhibition

October 3 – December 30, 2022
East Building, Ground Level - Library

Weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A distant land celebrated for its fusion of cultures, Spain in the time of John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) fascinated many. As railroads began crisscrossing the sun-drenched countryside, more visitors could reach more places. Artists like Sargent went to explore: he studied works by Spanish masters, viewed architecture and gardens—with their rich blend of influences, and encountered a land and people that fueled his creative imagination. A craze for all things Spanish ensued, especially in the United States, where many Spanish artworks entered private collections.

A vibrant visual culture emerged in Spain as commercial photographers such as Juan Laurent established studios that catered to the influx of visitors. As this imagery was collected and dispersed, it entered the popular imagination and defined the region in ways that still influence us today. These materials—the period postcards, fine photographs, and albums—allow us to see Spain as Sargent did, from its landscapes, architecture, and art to its music, dance, and costumes.

Photography and Travel in Sargent’s Spain draws upon photographs and printed matter in the Department of Image Collections of the National Gallery of Art Library. This exhibition is held in conjunction with Sargent and Spain.

Selected Works

Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington

This exhibition is curated by Thomas O’Callaghan, Image Specialist for Spanish Art, National Gallery of Art, Department of Image Collections.

Admission is always free and passes are not required

Banner detail: Casiano Alguacil Blázquez (1832–1914, photographer), Inhabitants of Toledo (c. 1880s), in Spain: Toledo, Cordova, Granada, Seville, Valencia, Barcelona (1879/1894?), plate 23 from first of two albums of 189 albumen silver photographs, Madrid: J. Laurent (firm), National Gallery of Art Library, Department of Image Collections