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Although 'Mountain Fire' presents an expansive Alpine view, Sargent's attention to the enveloping effects of smoke and steam makes it one of his most abstracted watercolors. With this work he clearly offered a farewell nod to the British watercolor tradition as exemplified by Joseph Mallord William Turner's Alpine subjects of a century before, in which deep perspectives were articulated with transparent washes. Sargent evoked dense haze and smoke by adding opaque white to his washes and by freely allowing the bleeding edges of wet washes to suggest vaporous effects.
Descriptive medium: Opaque and translucent watercolor
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