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Curator's Choice: The American Watercolor Movement, 1860-1900

DATES December 17, 1987 through March 14, 1988
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT American Art
COLLECTIONS American Art
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  • November 1, 1987 Curator’s Choice: The American Watercolor Movement 1860-1900, an exhibition of approximately 35 works examining the rise of watercolors as a medium to both popular and critical acceptance in America during the late 19th century, will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from December 17, 1987, to March 14, 1988, in the first floor Lobby Gallery. The presentation has been assembled from the Museum’s own collection of American watercolors, and the exhibition comprises works not only by watercolor specialists John William Hill and John Henry Hill but artists such as Thomas Eakins, William Trost Richards, Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent, among others.

    Although watercolor was used frequently prior to 1860, it was associated for the most part with illustration, printmaking and commercial design. While it was a popular vehicle for recording the picturesque qualities of the American landscape, it retained an essentially secondary status within the hierarchy of the fine arts. However, with the formation of the American Society of Painters in Water Color in 1866 and the annual New York exhibitions sponsored by it, watercolor attained the prestige of a major artistic force with artists, critics and the public. The movement reached its peak in the 1880s when nearly every important artist in the country experimented with the medium and exhibitions revealed a wide variety of subject matter and technical range.

    The exhibition was selected and organized by Barbara Dayer Gallati, Associate Curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Museum. It is the fourteenth in a continuing series that has been made possible, in part, by a grant from A&S.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1987, 112.
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