Mark Beard has devoted more than two decades of his life to researching and collecting the work of Bruce Sargeant, a painter who largely concentrated on the idealization and celebration of the male form. Had Sargeant not met with a tragic and untimely death at the age of 40, he may have gone on to achieve the fame and renown awarded to such painters as James McNeill Whistler, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer—artists to whom his style is often compared. Instead, Sargeant’s oeuvre remained relatively unknown for years until it was brought to light by the efforts of Beard.
The current exhibition gathers canvases in which Sargeant portrays his young models in various private settings such as the parlor and studio; to quasi-public spaces including the gymnasium; on to the field and in the great outdoors. Mark Beard’s selection of a wide array of scenes reflects his great uncle’s interest in men of all social echelons—from ranchers and people of the working class up the social ladder to sportsmen and art collectors alike.