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Watercolors in Philadelphia - Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts - Brief Article
Magazine Antiques, Dec, 2000 by Allison Eckardt Ledes

A century ago, a group of artists founded the Philadelphia Water Color Club, which in 1901 held its first show at the august Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1904 the club's exhibition was inaugurated as an annual event and it remained so until 1969 when the academy ceased playing host to annual exhibitions altogether. To celebrate the anniversary of the first show, the academy has mounted a show entitled American Watercolors at the Pennsylvania Academy, which includes more than 150 watercolors, mostly drawn from its permanent collection. The exhibition is on view until January 7, 2001. Many of the works on view were purchased from the annual exhibitions, and thus they give an indication of prevailing trends in institutional collecting of watercolors over the course of one hundred years. Watercolors completed in the eighteenth century and now in the academy's collection are included in the show to demonstrate that the medium was employed by American artists of this earlier period, when it was used ch iefly for miniature or small-scale portraits.

Thomas Eakins began teaching a watercolor class at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1875, and by the 1880s the medium had found an enthusiastic audience there. The Water Color Club was founded by two dozen artists (with an additional five honorary members of the club). The inaugural show contained 131 watercolors but by January 1903 it had become so popular that there were some 931 entries. Early proponents of modernism such as John Maria, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Demuth, George Luks, and Arthur Dove worked extensively in watercolor and many of them exhibited at the academy.

The current exhibition provides wonderful insight into Philadelphia's prominence as a center for watercolor painting and its important role in what became a national enthusiasm for the medium starting at the turn of the last century. The catalogue, written by Jonathan P. Binstock and Kathleen A. Foster, is available from the academy at 215-972-2075.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Brant Publications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

Bibliography for "Watercolors in Philadelphia - Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts - Brief Article"
Allison Eckardt Ledes "Watercolors in Philadelphia - Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts - Brief Article". Magazine Antiques. Dec 2000. FindArticles.com. 23 Sep. 2006.

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