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The Great American Watercolor

April 24 - July 3, 2010


In The Great American Watercolor, on exhibit through July 3, 2010, the New Britain Museum of American Art offers visitors a rare opportunity to examine some of the most vibrant, colorful works of art in the Museum's collection.

Over 107 years, the Museum has amassed more than one thousand watercolors. 130 of them will be shown, many for the first time in decades, in an exhibition entitled The Great American Watercolor. Examples will range in date from the early years of the 19th century to the present. Some are small genre subjects of charming patriotic scenes and others, like the Walton Ford's Fallen Mias, are enormous, bombastic contemporary watercolors. There will also be several examples from the Low Illustration Collection of original artworks that were subsequently printed as covers, illustrations, and cartoons in magazines, books, and newspapers.

While the Museum's oil paintings by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, John LaFarge, Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper and Giorgio Cavallon are displayed in the galleries on a regular basis, their watercolors can only be displayed periodically due to the fragile nature of this expressive medium.

Thus, with this exhibition visitors will be afforded a rare opportunity to examine some of the most vibrant, colorful works of art in the collection. Many were painted outdoors and are very lively, spontaneous renderings of people, places, and landscapes. Connoisseurs frequently assert that a perfectly executed watercolor is far more difficult to achieve than an oil painting, often the subject of years of revisions and improvements.

On display will be works of art from all periods of American Art history in a wide variety of different styles, from realism to abstraction and every other stylistic nuance between these two extremes. The curator of the exhibition is Alexander J. Noelle, Assistant Curator. Funds in support of this exhibition have been received from Bank of America, the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation and the Bailey Family Fund for Special Exhibitions.


(above: Winslow Homer, Young Girl at Window, 1875, Watercolor, Harriett Russell Stanley Fund, 1950.15)


(above: John La Farge, The End of Cook's Bay, Island of Moorea, Society Islands, 1891, Watercolor and gouache on paper, Harriet Russell Stanley Fund, 1951.07)


above: Andrew Wyeth, John Olson's Funeral, 1945, Watercolor, Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.26)


Selected Programming

(For details go to http://www.nbmaa.org/.)
Art Happy Hour: June 10, 2010:
5:30 p.m., Reception
6-8 p.m., Watercolor Easel Demonstration by artists June Webster and Bob Noreika
Watercolor with June Webster:
3-5 p.m., Tuesdays; Fee; six-week session starts May 25, registration required.


Go to:

Brochure essay for the exhibition

Object labels for the exhibition

Additional images from the exhibition


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:

and biographical information on artists cited in this article in America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

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