Story, photos by Lou Perri
The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents the most comprehensive loan exhibition in over 40 years devoted to the most important chapter in the history of watercolor painting in this country. American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent will bring together more than 170 works—many of them acknowledged masterpieces of this difficult, yet rewarding medium—drawn from public and private collections throughout the country. Tracing the development of the watercolor movement from its passionate embrace by a small, but dedicated group of painters in the 1860’s to the flowering of Modernism, this sweeping survey will examine the remarkable transformation of the medium that occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and is centered on the achievements of two of its most influential practitioners: Winslow Homer (1836-1910) and John Singer Sargent (1856-1925).
Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and CEO, told Explore Philly: “This major gathering of exceptional watercolors tells an extraordinary American story in rich and compelling detail. The exhibition is also a rare event because these fragile works are light-sensitive, exhibited infrequently, and seldom lent. It will be seen only in Philadelphia, where visitors will experience one of the country’s great artistic legacies through brilliantly colored landscapes, still life’s and genre scenes, as well as illustrations and designs for ceramics and stained glass. There has never been such a comprehensive exhibition devoted to this subject, and we are exceptionally grateful to our lenders who have helped to make it possible.