April 7, 1959:
Two hundred and two watercolors by 144 artists have been selected from three countries for the Brooklyn Museum’s 20th Biennial International Watercolor Exhibition to open on April 7. The exhibition and its catalog have been prepared by John Gordon, Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, who made the selections here and in Mexico and Canada. It will remain on view in the Museum lobby and Special Exhibitions Galleries through May 31.
Over the past 38 years the Brooklyn Museum has pioneered in presenting the progressive trends of the day in the watercolor medium, which is still overwhelmed by the importance attached to oils. Work by lesser known artists as well as by those well established is, as previously, included in this year’s show. In the large group from the U.S. the well-known artists include William Baziotes, Stuart Davis, Sam Francis, Adolf Gottlieb, Morris Graves, Ben Shahn. Among the Mexicans are Fernando Castro Pacheco, José Luis Cuevas, Carlos Merida, Juan Soriano. Canadian artists include Paul-Emile Borduas, Jean-Paul Riopelle, William Ronald, Jack Shadbolt.
The 100 U.S. artists are represented by one work apiece, whereas each of the 24 Mexicans and the 20 Canadians shows two or three paintings, thus offering a better representation of those artists’ who are less familiar to the American audience. In assembling the 55 Mexican watercolors and the 47 Canadian works, Mr. Gordon found that there was “new life and excitement in both areas, not evident even a few years ago. Travel and communication are quickly spreading the latest movements in painting. The artists of both Canada and Mexico appear to look more to Paris than to New York.” Wide experimentation and mixture of mediums is to be found in much of the work, including combinations of collage with watercolor, yet there is no loss of freshness and spontaneity.
Canada was last included in the Biennial in 1941; Mexico in 1949. Most of the watercolors are for sale.