The Royal Academy in Munich, where Sharp studied between 1886 and 1887, and again between 1888 and 1889, offered a course of study that followed the traditional academic style of instruction. This structure began with providing a strong foundation in drawing, progressing from drawing casts of antique sculpture and still lifes to live models. Man Seated, Looking Right is an example of one of Sharp’s drawing studies that he completed while attending courses during his first period of study at the Munich Academy.
This study demonstrates Sharp’s skilled draftsmanship, which was lauded as an underlying quality of his painting throughout his career, by critics such as Jon De Lack and J. F. Earhart, among others. (Sharp Papers) Sharp’s drawing also provides a look into his artistic process, the steps it took for Sharp to create his masterful portraits, landscapes, and interior scenes. While a decent amount of Sharp’s preparatory sketches and drawings survive, many of those exist in private collections. Man Seated, Looking Right, while not a preparatory sketch, is one of the few graphite drawings housed in a public institution (Record 298) and therefore presents an opportunity to examine some of the more technical aspects of Sharp’s artistic background.
Comparing this drawing to Sharp’s paintings is an interesting exercise. At first, the drawing looks little like his completed canvases. However, while Sharp’s paintings range in style from Impressionist to Tonalist to Realist, his understanding of anatomy, learned from intense study in drawing, shines through, particularly in his Indian portraits. A finished study drawing like Man Seated, Looking Right demonstrates Sharp’s ability to understand tone and composition of the body without the added stylistic options that come with paint-handling and color. This skillful treatment of the body can then be seen underlying the majority of Sharp’s later Indian paintings.