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In a Clear Light: The Triumph of Ohio Watercolor Painters, 1880 to 1967


The exhibit features forty-eight works, including pieces by Henry Keller, Charles Burchfield, Claude Hirst and Alice Schille. The works are being assembled from eight public institutions and fourteen private collections around the State of Ohio. A 16-page, four-color booklet accompanies the exhibit with an essay prepared by Guest Curator Dr. William Robinson, Curator of Modern European Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. (right: Clarence Carter, Self Portrait)

In the essay Robinson states that "one of Ohio's most important contributions to the history of American art is its distinguished tradition of watercolor painting . . . a tradition not widely recognized or understood outside the state."

Robinson goes on to state, "It is often said that watercolor painting appeals to Americans for its 'democratic' values. Typically modest in size, executed quickly, and easily portable, watercolors are usually less expensive to produce and collect than oil paintings or sculptures. However practical matters alone do not explain the popularity of watercolor painting in America. Because the medium demands quick, decisive execution, without reworking or excessive preparation, it encourages painters to seize the essential features of a subject and render them boldly and directly.

"Ohio watercolorists were among the first artists to respond to the ideological demands of the 'American scene movement,' which was born during World War I and matured in the 1920s and 1930s. During this period, watercolor painting found an immense public in Ohio. While Europe might boast of great manor houses gilded with imposing ancestor portraits, Ohio was becoming a state where one might more commonly encounter modest middle-class homes and apartments decorated in watercolors' unpretentious paintings depicting familiar towns and cities, the countryside and steel mills, friends and neighbors, fellow citizens at work and play."

In addition to its Canton venue, the exhibit will be presented at the Springfield Museum of Art from August to October 2003.


Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Canton Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

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