American Watercolors and Pastels, 1875-1950, at the Fogg Art Museum

, Fogg Art Museum

Fogg Art Museum

This exhibition presents a survey of over 50 works drawn predominantly from the Fogg’s extraordinary collection of American art. The period 1875–1950 was a golden age in American watercolor, when masters from Sargent, La Farge, and Homer to Hopper, Demuth, and Rothko explored its representational and expressive possibilities.

Homer, in Adirondack Lake, used scumbled paint and scratch work to convey the cool hush of his fishing scene, while La Farge built up heavy layers of gouache in a preparatory study for Faith, Hope, and Charity, a stained-glass window in Trinity Church, Chicago. Demuth applied pigment sparingly in his search for a new formal vocabulary, and Rothko combined watercolor with ink and tempera to create organic forms in a vibrant surrealist field. The exhibition also includes pastels by Whistler, William Morris Hunt, and Sarah Wyman Whitman. Works loaned for the exhibition include Helen Torr’s impasto-like gouache of Zinnias and William Merritt Chase’s dashing pastel Self-Portrait. A fully illustrated brochure with an essay accompanies this exhibition.

Organized by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., curator of American art, and Virginia Anderson, assistant curator of American art.