Winslow Homer, Old Friends, 1894, Watercolor over graphite on off-white wove paper, Museum purchase, 1908.3

December 20, 2008 – March 1, 2009

This holiday installation features works from the collection that are seldom seen because of their light sensitivity. The airing presents a historical survey of works from around world painted with water-based pigments. Watercolor is made from powdered pigments bound together with gum arabic and thinned with water. To add substance to the medium and increase its opacity, artists add a gelatin-like isinglass from fish or size from animals, and this mixture is called bodycolor. They also make their paint even more opaque with the addition of white filler like chalk or zinc white, and this medium is known as gouache. The subjects and styles presented in this installation vary greatly. There are works from the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods. Also among the works exhibited will be fairly recent acquisitions to the collection that have never been shown at the Worcester Art Museum, including examples by English, French, and Asian artists. The work of American watercolorists including Winslow Homer, Maurice Prendergast, and John Singer Sargent will share galleries with abstract watercolors from the late twentieth century by artists like Byron Browne, Franz Kline, and Norman Bluhm.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Fidelity Investments.

Select Images from the Exhibition