History of


Understand that Albrecht Durer is the western artist
who began a major change in watercolor painting
Learn the importance of various artists’
contribution to watercolor painting
Recognize the characteristics of watercolor painting
Understand the impact the invention of paper had
on watercolor painting
Recognize the change of watercolor painting from a
craft to a fine art
On a timeline, place watercolor painting as it began
to evolve into a fine art after the Renaissance

D.In the beginning… The use of watercolors dates back to prehistoric times with cavemen painting on cave walls Some illuminated manuscripts were made with watercolor paint It was not until about A.  Their art was filled with calligraphy. but the main image was usually a landscape. 500 that watercolor painting came to be considered a fine art. This characteristic became a central theme of Western watercolor traditions in later centuries. when Chinese poet-painters helped it evolve from being primarily a decorative craft in the East. . Chinese and Japanese masters painted on silk as well as exquisite handmade paper.

Invention of Paper Paper has also played an important role in the development of watercolor. However. A few other mills developed later in other parts of Europe. high-quality paper was not produced in Britain until much later during the eighteenth century. . while England developed its first mills by 1495. China has been manufacturing paper since ancient times. Paper was imported to Europe until the first papermaking mills were finally established in Italy in 1276. The Arabs learned their secrets during the eighth century.

traditional Western watercolor painting was slow in evolving. The increased availability of paper by the fourteenth century finally allowed for the possibility of drawing as an artistic activity. So artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo began to develop drawings as a tool for practice and for recording information.Watercolor as a sketch… Since paper was considered a luxury item in these early ages. .

ended up using a Watercolour and gouache on combination of transparent paper and opaque watercolors to produce colored drawings. 1489. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) has been credited with upgrading the level of watercolors and began using them for more than sketching and planning.Albrecht Dürer In the West. he was looking for a way to color areas of his prints and The Wire-Drawing Mill. Primarily a printmaker. .

watercolor and gouache on paper.Albrecht Dürer (German) A Young Hare 1502. 25 x 23 cm .

Albrecht Dürer The Large Piece of Turf. 1503 watercolor and gouache on yellowed paper 41 x 32 cm .

His landscapes influenced dozens of artists during later decades.Paper in England after 1768 In 1770.W. . These map-like paintings were of ports of sea. With the production of higher quality papers . 1775-1851) who went on to become one of the greatest painters of the nineteenth century. Turner (English. The most talented watercolorist from this period was Joseph M. England began producing paper made especially for watercolor paint.first national school of watercolorists emerged in Britain. as well as the surrounding landscape.  This watercolor tradition began with landscape drawings from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries as Britain began to grow as a world power.

English watercolor painters were more skilled than any other artists in the world Warkworth Castle. as well as with brushes. rags. He is considered part of the original English (transparent) watercolor school. Turner (1775-1851) (English) applied new transparent and opaque watercolors with sponges. Watercolour on paper .Joseph Mallard William Turner J. W. For many years. M. 1799.Thunder Storm Approaching at Sun-Set. Northumberland . and knives.

Watercolour on paper .Joseph Mallard William Turner View of Saint-Germain-ea-Laye and Its Chateau.

but by the late eighteenth century the Englishman. This growing technology encouraged many European artists to experiment with watercolors until eventually the tradition spread to America. was selling them in portable cakes.  In 1846. William Reeves. Winsor & Newton introduced colors packaged in metal tubes.Early watercolorists ground their own pigments. .

Capturing the NEW WORLD on paper The earliest watercolor drawings produced in America were created for factual documentation of the "new world." As early as the 1560's. European explorers carried this visual information back to the "old world". .

American artists saw watercolor as a primary medium equal to oil painting. This was not common in nineteenth century Europe except in England. . By 1866.  Gradually. the interest in the medium was strong and for the first time watercolors were shown in galleries among oil paintings. skilled and talented artists from America began to develop artworks which challenged European artists.America Gradually Excels European watercolorists were still superior to Americans.

John James Audubon are famous for their major works in watercolor paints. Artists such as Winslow Homer. John Singer Sargent.American Artists Take the Lead America's contribution to the international watercolor tradition is second to none. . Although the British dominated that tradition in the past. American artists have produced a important and varied body of work in watercolor that is unmatched elsewhere in the world since the late eighteenth century.

1873 .Winslow Homer (American) 1836-1910 Boys and Kitten.

Winslow Homer The Blue Boat 1892 Water color .

1917 .JOHN SINGER SARGENT (American) 1856-1925 Muddy Alligators.

John Singer Sargent Gondoliers’ Siesta 1904 .

Audubon did his first study in 1805. 1829 medium.John James Audubon The paintings of American wildlife by John James Audubon (American. 1785- 1851) became famous. . He eventually devoted himself to painting the animals and plants of North America with such skill that no other artist has equaled in any other Virginian Partridge.

John James Audubon Trumpeter Swan Golden Eagle .

Watercolor Paintings Today .