Published on the occasion of an exhibition held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, March 1-May 14, 2017.
The American watercolor movement -- American watercolor before 1866: separate worlds -- Ruskin, Turner, and the English tradition, 1855-1865 -- The formation of the American watercolor society -- "Strenuous and persistent efforts": the watercolor movement, 1873-1877 -- Landscape in the 1870s -- The illustrators: from "black and white" to color, 1873-1882 -- Figure painting in the 1870s: Homer and Eakins -- Art for a Decorative Age -- Impressionism from Munich and Rome -- High-water mark: figure painters in the 1880s -- Landscape painting after 1880: tonalism -- Illustration and decoration in the Gilded Age -- Impressionism and post-impressionism: Prendergast, Homer, and Sargent -- The "American medium" and the moderns -- Flash in the pan: a history of manufacturing watercolor paint in America / Rebecca Pollak
The fascinating story of the transformation of American watercolor practice between 1866 and 1925 The formation of the American Watercolor Society in 1866 by a small, dedicated group of painters transformed the perception of what had long been considered a marginal medium. Artists of all ages, styles, and backgrounds took up watercolor in the 1870s, inspiring younger generations of impressionists and modernists. By the 1920s many would claim it as "the American medium." This engaging and comprehensive book tells the definitive story of the metamorphosis of American watercolor practice between 1866 and 1925, identifying the artist constituencies and social forces that drove the new popularity of the medium. The major artists of the movement - Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, William Trost Richards, Thomas Moran, Thomas Eakins, Charles Prendergast, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, Charles Demuth, and many others - are represented with lavish color illustrations. The result is a fresh and beautiful look at watercolor's central place in American art and culture.