American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent


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Kathleen A. Foster


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Out of Print

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.

Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition Schedule:

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Kathleen A. Foster is Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Senior Curator of American Art and the director of the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Philadelphia Museum of Art

"The exhibition and its sumptuous companion book fully explore the reasons for this bracing aesthetic change and the resulting legacy of the American watercolor movement."—Barrymore Laurence Scherer, Wall Street Journal

"Through the catalogue—a noble, handsome, five-hundred-page beast of a tome that will provide much consolation and a measure of absolution if you can’t see the exhibition in person—one can travel through her palatial understanding of the art scene at the time, one that witnessed the flowering of a previously dismissed medium, an associated emergence of talented women artists (speaking of previous dismissal), and a transformation of American taste from a preference for dogged craftsmanship to an appreciation for a wrist with a bit of flair."—Franklin Einspruch, The New Criterion

"[T]his beauty of a book, part in-depth scholarly history and part lavish representation of an outstanding 175-piece art show . . . cover[s] a pivotal half-century of American art in thoroughly documented and imaginative chapters."—Library Journal
ISBN: 9780300225891
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publishing Partner: Published in association with the Philadelphia Museum of Art
496 pages, 10 1/2 x 11 1/2
360 color illus.
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