Masters of American Watercolor

Cow Boys
Cow Boys, 1873
Winslow Homer
Watercolor
Gift of the George and Frances
Ball Foundation
The Museum of Art’s collection of watercolors holds some of the greatest American masters in this medium. Included are works by Millard Sheets (1907-1989), John Marin (1870-1953), and Jim Dine (b. 1935), not to mention Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Edward Hopper (1882-1967), and Charles Burchfield (1893-1967). The Museum of Art received a major gift from the collection of Miss Elisabeth Ball through the George and Frances Ball Foundation in 1995 which significantly elevated the status of the collection.

Watercolor as we understand the medium today was developed in England in the later eighteenth century. Watercolor is the application of pigment suspended in water with a binder (so it will stick) to a support which is usually a fine handmade paper. Its stature as a major medium grew throughout the 1800s. Watercolor was the first technique through which Winslow Homer achieved commercial success.

Among the other artists included in this exhibition are Hoosier impressionist painter Otto Stark (1859-1926), Robert Blum (1857-1903), Mexicans Diego Rivera (1886-1957), and David Siqueriros (1896-1974), and Chicago Imagist H.C. Westermann (1922-1988). The most recently painted watercolor in the show is White Tulips, and Big Daffodils by Carolyn Brady (1937-2005), which has been borrowed from the Indiana University Museum of Art, Bloomington. Brady’s work is representative of the revival of the medium with the emergence of the New Realists in the 1970s.

Since watercolors are fragile when exposed to light, the time frame is necessarily brief. There are several collateral exhibitions of watercolors in Muncie this fall; look for the juried exhibition at the Mitchell Place Gallery, and another at Gordy’s Fine Art.

Exhibition Date: September 23, 2005 - November 14, 2005