Victorian Landscape Watercolors
Scott Wilcox, Christopher Newall, Yale Center for British Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
Hudson Hills, 1992 - Art - 196 pages
English landscape watercolor painting, a perfect marriage of genre and medium, entered a lively period of experimentation in style and content during the second half of the nineteenth century, with rich and diverse results. Through all the changes of style and technique and all the debates over the appropriate use of the medium, it was watercolor's ability to convey the timeless truth and reality of the natural world that mattered to artists, critics, and audiences. British watercolors of the Victorian period continued to observe an essential humility before nature; they remain fresh and compellingly immediate because they derived in the first place from the artists' heartfelt communion with the elements of nature.
Victorian Landscape Watercolors begins with a consideration of the continuing influence of the great generation who earlier in the century, during the extraordinary parallel rise of watercolor and landscape painting, had established the landscape watercolor as a major British contribution to the arts. The second chapter examines the role of the landscape watercolor in the aesthetic thought of John Ruskin, whose critical voice played a dominant role in shaping that art. The third chapter looks at the place of landscape within the watercolor societies and its development as it appeared in their annual exhibitions. The final chapter deals with the tug of new and old, foreign and native in the later Victorian period.
The book also features 126 watercolors, from public and private collections in America and England, all reproduced in full color and accompanied by individual commentaries. Among the 76 artists represented are David Cox, Sr. and Jr., Walter Crane, William Holman Hunt, Edward Lear, Samuel Palmer, James Mallord William Turner, James McNeill Whistler, and Ruskin himself, along with dozens of lesser-known masters of the medium.
Victorian Landscape Watercolors is published in conjunction with the first exhibition to survey this period of this particularly British contribution to the arts; the exhibition, organized by the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, will also be seen at the Cleveland Museum of Art and in Birmingham, England.
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