Thomas Moran American, Shoshone Falls, Snake River, Idaho, ca. 1875. Watercolor on paper board. Gift of Mr. Hugh Gordon Miller.
A survey of the heights of the American watercolor movement from around 1870– to 1940 that reveals a deeper appreciation of watercolor’s central place in the larger history of American art.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, watercolor painting—once considered a medium best suited to amateur artists or preliminary sketches—developed into a significant force in American art. By the turn of the century, the popularity of watercolor painting as well as the qualities favored by its leading artists of boldness, directness, and cheerfulness led many critics to proclaim watercolor the “American Medium.”
Working in a wide range of styles and motifs, amateur and professional artists produced watercolors of technical brilliance and captivating beauty that pushed the boundaries of the medium and positioned watercolor at the leading edges of American art.