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Description: American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent
~This project was a long time building. I discovered the American watercolor movement as a graduate student, preparing an exhibition of the work of Edwin Austin Abbey at the Yale University Art Gallery in 1973. Abbey’s sudden celebrity in 1882 at the exhibition of the American Watercolor Society changed his career and gave me pause: something was...
PublisherPhiladelphia Museum of Art
This project was a long time building. I discovered the American watercolor movement as a graduate student, preparing an exhibition of the work of Edwin Austin Abbey at the Yale University Art Gallery in 1973. Abbey’s sudden celebrity in 1882 at the exhibition of the American Watercolor Society changed his career and gave me pause: something was going on in watercolor painting in New York that year! I am grateful to Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., my advisor at Yale, who suggested I take on the Abbey project, helped me as I developed my thesis, and drafted me onto the team helping him canvas public and private collections for the ambitious survey of American watercolors and drawings that he prepared in 1976. That catalogue, American Master Drawings and Watercolors, remains a benchmark in the field, and from that era came friends who encouraged my research for decades to come. Fellow student Carol Troyen, also a Stebbins collaborator then, and now a distinguished scholar of American art, has continued to share my interest in watercolors and, tying all the intervening decades together, served as an invaluable reader of the manuscript for this book. Over all this time, I have many to thank. Jules Prown, who sagely guided me through the completion of my thesis, for years urged me to return to the subject; other friends from Yale days—Nancy Bialler, Susan Casteras, Constance Clements, Tom Colville, Helen Cooper, Douglas Druick, Galina Garokhoff, Christina Orr Cahall, Marilyn McCully, Michael Quick, Gale Rawson, Oswaldo Rodriguez, John Wilmerding, Peter Zegers—are gratefully remembered for past and recent support. A Wyeth Foundation fellowship in 1974 made it possible for me to install myself in the drawings study at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston—where help from Sue Welsh Reed is fondly recalled—and at the Fogg Museum, where Agnes Mongan graciously dubbed me a research assistant and Marjorie Cohn taught me about water-color materials and techniques. My first teaching post, at Williams College in 1975, gave me an inaugural chance to teach about watercolors, and I remember the assistance of the faculty there—particularly Fane Faison and Whitney Stoddard—and my bright students and friends, some of whom are colleagues today, such as Fronia and Marc Simpson and Beth Weiss.
In 1977 I moved to Philadelphia, and two years later joined the curatorial team at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where I was soon distracted by wonderful projects supervised by Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., and Richard Boyle. Colleagues at PAFA, such as Finda Bantel, Mark Bockrath, Cheryl Feibold, Helen Mangelsdorf, Elizabeth Milroy, Judith Stein, Catherine Stover, and Jeanette Toohey, supported me as I finished my dissertation and launched new work on Thomas Eakins that continues to play out in the current book. Fife was made rich at this time by fieldwork adventures with my husband Henry Glassie and the thrilling arrival of our daughter, Ellen Adair. Henry taught me about folklore and material culture and set an inspiring example as a scholar while supporting my work; Ellen Adair has been the light of my life.
While I was at PAFA, a special project team formed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where John Caldwell and I teamed up with David Kiehl to present an exhibition of American works on paper at the opening of the “new” American wing in 1980. In systematically reviewing the collection at the Met I came to appreciate the resources there—of both art and people—and I am grateful for decades of friends and colleagues, including Kevin Avery, Carrie Rebora Barratt, Doreen Bolger, Alice (Nonnie) Frelinghuysen, Morrison Heckscher, Stephanie Herdrich, Elizabeth Kornhauser, Amelia Peck, Marjorie Shelley, Thayer Tolies, Barbara Weinberg, and Sylvia Yount. It is not by coincidence that the Met is the largest lender to this exhibition in 2017, after the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and I am thankful for such generosity.
After completing my dissertation, “Makers of the American Watercolor Movement, 1860–1890,” in 1982, I was invited by my friend Linda Ferber to contribute an essay to the Brooklyn Museum’s 1985 project on American Pre-Raphaelitism, The New Path, a catalogue with texts by Ferber, Casteras, and William H. Gerdts that continues to resound in the present book. Ferber’s many publications on William Trost Richards have been an inspiration, and she has been a model in cultivating one of the country’s greatest collections of American watercolors. Her important exhibition and catalogue Masters of Color and Light: Homer, Sargent, and the American Watercolor Movement (1998), undertaken with her colleague Barbara Gallati, showcased the museum’s holdings and told my story of the watercolor movement with a Brooklyn accent. Not surprisingly, Brooklyn is the next-most-generous source of loans to Philadelphia’s exhibition, and I am grateful for the support of her colleague and successor Teresa Carbone, also a watercolor scholar, who carried her enthusiasm to her new post at The Henry Luce Foundation, one of the major underwriters of this project.
Another piece of my watercolor research was published in the catalogue for the John La Farge retrospective in 1987, with long-time colleagues Henry Adams, James Yarnall, and Barbara Weinberg, whose work also undergirds the present volume. In the same year, curator Susan E. Strickler published the first exhibition survey drawing on my thesis, American Traditions in Watercolor, based on the sterling collections of the Worcester Art Museum. I have gone back to Worcester for extraordinary loans, and I am grateful to supportive colleagues there, Elizabeth Athens, Nancy Burns, Jonathan Seydl, and Eliza Spaulding.
My fourteen years at Indiana University, beginning in 1988, were dominated by projects at the Indiana University Art Museum, but my continuing work on Thomas Eakins allowed the publication of my thoughts on his watercolors, in Thomas Eakins Rediscovered (1997). Robert F. McNeil, Jr., encouraged a diversion into the early nineteenth century, supporting my book on the watercolors of Captain Joshua Rowley Watson published that same year. In 2000, I had the pleasure of revisiting the Pennsylvania Academy, collaborating with curator Jonathan Binstock on a survey exhibition of watercolors from the collection; some of those treasures are included in this book, and I thank current friends at the Academy, David Brigham and Anna Marley, for keeping old ties strong. Awarded a half-year sabbatical from Indiana University in 2002, thanks to the museum’s director, Adelheid Gealt, I took up my watercolor research again and won a Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a visiting fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. It was good to reconnect with colleagues in New York, and I am grateful to Virginia Mecklenberg, Joann Moser, William Truettner, and the staffs of the Archives of American Art and the SAAM library for their help in Washington, DC, then and now.
Just as my research was rekindled, I was brought by then-director Anne d’Harnoncourt to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Anne encouraged the idea of a watercolor show, and while the concept took its place in the Museum’s exhibition queue, I dove into other projects. But I was invited to keep thinking about the subject by John Wilmerding, who asked me in 2004 to write for the catalogue of American watercolors and drawings at the Princeton University Art Museum. This collection, well known to me for decades, has supplied many treasures to the current project, and I am grateful to old and new friends at Princeton, Laura Giles and Karl Kusserow. In 2010 another occasion for watercolor research arose in the project uniting the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to study the work of Alfred Jacob Miller. As we developed this exhibition, it was a joy to pore over the watercolors with Stephanie Knappe, Lisa Strong, and long-time friend and fellow watercolor scholar Margi Conrads.
Anne d’Harnoncourt’s death in 2008 suspended exhibition planning for two years, but our new director, Timothy Rub, put the project back on the schedule and granted my crucial sabbatical in 2015, for which I remain supremely thankful. In the spring of that year, I was invited to serve as the Edmond J. Safra Professor at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and I remember fondly the company of my fellow visiting scholars and the superb support of the staff, particularly Elizabeth Cropper, Peter Lukehart, and Therese O’Malley. They found me a highly overqualified research assistant, Sally Mills, whose hand is on the membership roster found in Appendix A. My colleagues at the National Gallery were likewise welcoming, especially my fellow American-art curators Nancy Anderson, Charles Brock, Sarah Cash, and Frank Kelly. I offer special thanks for assistance in organizing my Safra seminar to the prints-and-drawings team, Judith Brodie, Carlotta Owens, Charlie Ritchie, and Andrew Robison, and the paper conservator Kimberly Schenck, who also allowed a spectacular group of loans to the current exhibition. A sparkling assembly of young curators and conservators were my students at CASVA, and I thank them all for their enthusiasm and assistance: those not mentioned elsewhere include Margaret C. Adler, Katelyn Crawford, James Glisson, Amy Hughes, Margaret Laster, Vanja Malloy, Chris Oliver, and Jessica Silverman. Judith Walsh joined us to assist in the colloquium, reminding me how much I owe to the many wise paper conservators whose names appear elsewhere in this list and throughout the notes in this volume.
Back in Philadelphia, associate curator Mark Mitchell held the fort for me while I was away for six months, and shared his research from the still-life project that he was building at the time; his intelligence and good cheer are gratefully remembered. Other staff members of the American Art department helped with the loans, the catalogue, and the installation, including Emily Leischner and then Laura Fravel, the latter first as Barra Fellow and then as my calm and resourceful exhibition assistant. The current Barra Fellow, Amy Torbert, cheerfully tackled many last-minute tasks, including the index, following the research and editorial assistance of earlier Center for American Art fellows, including Caitlin Beach, Will Coleman, James Denison, Abby Eron, Ramey Mize, Lauren Palmor, Jennifer Stettler Parsons, Corey Piper, Melanie Saeck, Naomi Slipp, and Brittany Strupp. Cynthia Veloric helped compile the American Watercolor Society membership roster in Appendix B and chased many research queries. Linda Yun, our heroic Registrar for Exhibitions, can never be thanked sufficiently. Suzi Wells, Yana Balson, and Cassandra DiCarlo oversaw the exhibition’s planning and logistics. Sharon Hildebrand managed framing and matting with aplomb. Jamie Montgomery inventively designed the gallery presentation, with the collaboration of Barb Barnett as graphic designer. Colleagues in Education and Interpretation helped plan the materials and our special programming for the exhibition: thanks go to Jenni Drozdek, Joshua Helmer, and Emily Schreiner, along with Megan McNeely and Aiden Vega in Membership and Visitor Services. Frances Homan Jue of Antenna International produced the exhibition’s engaging audio guide. Intensely involved, from first to last, have been our paper conservators, Nancy Ash, Scott Homolka, and Rebecca Pollak, who helped with the examination and description of objects, as well as the preparation of interpretive materials on watercolor technique for the gallery. They in turn wish to thank their colleagues who responded to queries about the loans, including Beatriz Centeno, Kristi A. Dahm, Anne Driesse, Theresa Fairbanks-Harris, Penley Knipe, Antoinette Owen, Elisabetta Polidori, Marjorie Shelley, Eliza Spaulding, Kimberly Schenck, and Harriet Stratis.
This catalogue is another miracle of teamwork wrought by the Museum’s renowned Publishing department. Editor Kathleen Krattenmaker, a paragon of energy, insight, and professional practice, has made this book immeasurably better. If there are any errors herein, the fault lies entirely with me. Her work and mine was supported by the head of the department, Sherry Babbitt, whose decades of wisdom have sustained the Museum’s tradition of excellence in publishing. I cherish the fact that she stayed her retirement to see this book to press. Richard Bonk steadfastly ensured the high quality of the illustrations and supervised production; Mary Cason was the eagle-eyed proofreader; and Jenn Zahorbenski provided cheerful assistance whenever it was needed. Katy Homans supplied a beautiful design. We are all grateful for the backing of our partners at Yale University Press for their promotion and distribution of the book.
My colleagues in the Museum’s American Art department, past and present, have been important contributors and advocates. For their support, I thank Elisabeth Agro, David L. Barquist, Beatrice Garvan, Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley, Lisa Morra, Sophia Meyers, Lucy Peterson, Quillan Rosen, Jessica Smith, and Carol Soltis. In other departments of the Museum, the list of contributors might embrace the entire staff, but I must commend the collegiality and assistance of fellow curators by naming Matthew Affron, Peter Barberie, Carlos Basualdo, Erica Battle, Dilys Blum, Amanda Bock, Dirk Breiding, Mark Castro, Felice Fischer, Kristina Haugland, Katherine Hiesinger, John Ittmann, Shelley Langdale, Ann Percy, Joseph Rishel, Innis Howe Shoemaker, Jennifer Thompson, John Vick, Hyunsoo Woo, and generations of fellows in the department of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, most recently Danielle Canter, Eleanore Newmann, and Eileen Owens. Jennifer Vanim helped type an early section of the manuscript. In Education, Marla K. Shoemaker was an enthusiastic advocate for the project alongside members of her division, including Justina Barrett. Without the financial support raised by our Development department, led by Jonathan Peterson and David Blackman, the exhibition would not have reached its potential. Key contributors from their department include Kate Brett, Tricia Handza, Nico Hartzell, Eileen L. Matchett, Caroline New, and Danielle Smereczynski. From other departments came help from Gail Harrity, Alice Beamesderfer, Jeffrey Blair, and Mary-Jean Huntley in the Museum’s Executive office; Mark Tucker, Teresa Lignelli, and Chris Ferguson in Conservation; Marcia L. Birbilis, Joy Deibert, Jennifer Francis, and Norman Keyes in Communications; Irene Taurins in the Registrars’ office; Kerry DiGiacomo and Jessica Sharpe in Membership and Visitor Services; Dave Gallagher, Eric Griffin, Jeanine Kline, Martha Masiello, Joseph Pillari, and Andrew Slavinskas in Exhibition Design, Installations and Packing, and Facilities and Operations; Robert Bell, Stephen Keever, Brian Newell, Sid Rodriguez, Jennifer Schlegel, Ariel Schwartz, and William Weinstein in Information and Interpretive Technologies and Audio-Visual; Justyna Badach, Timothy Tiebout, Jason Wierzbicki, and Graydon Wood in Photography; Luis Bravo, Gretchen Dykstra, Kelly Edwards, Nisa Qazi, Erika Remmy, Sarah Roche, and Maia Wind in Editorial and Graphic Design; and Susan Anderson, Conna Clark, Kristen Regina, Rick Sieber, and Mary Wassermann in Library, Archives, and Visual Resources. I also gratefully acknowledge the wider support staff throughout the Museum engaged in visitor services, maintenance, security, and construction, among other activities, demonstrating the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s legendary spirit of collaboration.
The exhibition’s numerous individual lenders are gratefully acknowledged in the front of this catalogue and in the director’s foreword, to which I add my own sincere thanks for their generosity, recognizing that watercolors are shown and lent cautiously. Colleagues at other museums, many of them already mentioned above, were some of the most valued proponents of this exhibition, helping me on my research visits and advocating for the loans that were indispensable to the success of the project. I thank them again, and also Tammis K. Groft, Douglas McCombs, and Diane Shewchuk at the Albany Institute for History & Art, Albany, NY; Stephanie Carson and Heather L. Knapp at the American Museum of Natural History, New York; Andrew J. Walker, Shirley Reece-Hughes, and Jodi Utter at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX; Diane Forsberg and Suzan D. Friedlander at the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, NY; Kristi Dahm, Natasha M. Derrickson, Douglas Druick, Darrell Green, Suzanne Folds McCullagh, James Rondeau, Zoe Ryan, Martha Tedeschi, and Emily Vokt Ziemba at The Art Institute of Chicago; David Park Curry, Jay Fisher, Melanie Harwood, Rena M. Hoisington, and Ann Shafer at The Baltimore Museum of Art; Anne Collins Goodyear, Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., and Laura Latman at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME; Connie Choi, Elizabeth Largi, and Anne Pasternak at the Brooklyn Museum; Leora Siegel at the Lenhardt Library, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL; Julie Aronson, Carola M. Bell, and Cameron Kitchin at the Cincinnati Art Museum; Mark Cole, William M. Griswold, Heather Lemonedes, and Gretchen Shie Miller at The Cleveland Museum of Art; Caroline Baumann, Caitlin Condell, and Steven Langehough at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York; Cindy Mackey, Karen Papineau, P. Andrew Spahr, Susan Strickler, and Kurt J. Sundstrom at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH; Rod Bigelow and Jennifer De Martino at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Robert G. La France, Carl Schafer, and Rebecca Vaughn at the David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State University, Muncie, IN; Jane Bianco, Christopher Brownawell, Michael Komanecky, Sheryl McMahan, and Angela Waldron at the Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME; Sarah Kate Gillespie and Christy Sinksen at the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Cody Hartley and Robert A. Kret at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM; Maureen Donovan, Deborah Martin Kao, Ethan W. Lasser, and Carrie Van Horn at the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA; Lisa Chalif, Andrew W. Schaeffer, and Michael W. Schantz at The Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; Stephanie Heydt, Margaret Oliva, and Randall Suffolk at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Melissa Chiu and Annie Farrar at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Peggy Fogelman and Amanda Venezia at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; Douglas Dolan and Sara C. Good at the Mercer Museum, Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, PA; Thomas P. Campbell and Catherine Mackay at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Anna Tobin D’Ambrosio, Mary Murray, and Michael Somple at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, Utica, NY; Helen Burnham, Meghan Melvin, Janet Moore, Patrick Murphy, Matthew Teitelbaum, and Benjamin Weiss at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Gary Tinterow and Dena Woodall at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Earl A. Powell III at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Bonnie Clearwater and Barbara Buhler Lynes at Nova Southeastern University Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, FL; Jennifer Johns at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Mark H. C. Bessire, Erin Damon, and Jessica May at the Portland Art Museum, Portland, ME; Calvin Brown and James Steward at the Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ; Brent R. Benjamin and Jamie Sepich at the Saint Louis Art Museum; Katherine C. Luber and William Keyse Rudolph at the San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX; Patricia Junker and Kimerly Rorschach at the Seattle Art Museum; Paula Binari, Elizabeth Broun, and Eleanor Harvey at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Peter John Brownlee, Elizabeth Glassman, and Catherine L. Ricciardelli at the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago; Robin Jaffee Frank, Thomas J. Loughman, and Erin Monroe at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Danielle Bennett, Jo Briggs, Jenn Harr, Danielle Horetsky, Julia Marciari-Alexander, and Robert Mintz at The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Maat Manninen and Matthias Waschek at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; L. Lynne Addison, Suzanne Boorsch, Suzanne Greenawalt, Theresa Fairbanks-Harris, Elisabeth Hodermarsky, and Jock Reynolds at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; Colleen E. Curry at the Heritage and Research Center, Yellowstone National Park, WY; and Daniel N. Wenk, Superintendent, United States Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.
The generosity of museums is surpassed only by that of private collectors willing to share the work off their walls, and I am grateful to all those listed at the front of this catalogue—including the lenders who chose to be anonymous—and the many who invited me in to see their collections or offer advice. For their direct or indirect help with ideas, contacts, loans, and images, I would like to thank Warren Adelson, Michael Altman, Nicole Amoroso, Eric and Katherine Baumgartner, Alice Bear, Brad Bentoff, Jonathan Boos, Jeffrey Brown, Walter and Berta Burr, Joe Caldwell, Kayla Carlsen, Tara Cederholm, Jessica Crenshaw, John Driscoll, Alice Duncan, Stuart Feld, Debra Force, Howard Godel, Elizabeth Goldberg, David Gray, Jennifer Hardin, David Henry, Lisa Hurst, Jim Keny, Colton Klein, Allan Kollar, Lisa Koonce, Jennifer Krieger, Betty Krulik, Mary Landa, Sueyun Locks, Mary Lublin, Liz McGranaghan, Susan Menconi, Leonard Milberg, Dara Mitchell, Elizabeth Oustinoff, Bill and Pat Patterson, Patricia Jobe Pierce and Marco Apollo Pierce, Deborah Pollock, Paul Provost, Leah Ricci, Richard Rossello, Kendal Rotan, Andy Schoelkopf, Deepali and Robert D. Schwarz, Jr., Elle Shushan, Jerry N. Smith, William Vareikis, Meredith Ward, Giselle Young West, Eric Widing, Paul and Susan Winokur, Gerold Wunderlich, and the staff at the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL, and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who gathered in local loans.
In the wider world of American art, many other colleagues and interested friends in addition to those already mentioned have offered advice, assistance, and moral support, including Fred Baker, Judith Barter, Perry Benson, Max Berry, Annette Blaugrund, Graham Boettcher, Nan Brewer, Emily and Will Brown, William Chiego, Carol Clark, Hersh and Fern Cohen, Joe and Wanda Corn, Sharon Corwin, Heather Coyle, Robert Cozzolino, Chris Crosman, Elliot Davis, John Davis, Rachel DeLue, Judith Dolkhart, Stephen Edidin, Charles Eldredge, Ruth Fine, Kenneth Finkel, Maribeth Flynn, Ilene Fort, Margaretta Frederick, Abigail Gerdts, Mary Anne Goley, Corey Gooch, Rebecca Harlow, Hannah Henderson, Frank Hevrdejs, Erica Hirshler, Dale Horst, Sarah Jackson, Sallie Johnson, Alexander Katlan, Miri Kim, Anastasia Kinigopoulo, Karen Kramer, Royal W. Leith, Michael Leja, Lauren Lessing, Audrey Lewis, Barbara J. MacAdam, Margaret MacDonald, Leo Mazow, Jenny McComas, Barbara J. Mitnick, Ken Myers, Emily Neff, Maureen O’Brien, Roberta Olson, Kimberly Orcutt, Richard Ormond, Lisa Peters, Brian Peterson, Ron Pisano, Casey Riley, Bruce Robertson, Seth Rosen, Darrel Sewell, Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Karen Sherry, Nancy Sojka, Joyce Hill Stoner, Roberta K. Tarbell, Kelley Tialiou, Robert W. Torchia, James Tottis, Diana Tuite, Bruce Weber, Melissa Wolfe, and Paul Worman.
For the advice, support, inspiration, and companionship over the years of so many friends, colleagues, and fellow watercolor admirers, I am deeply grateful.
Kathleen A. Foster
The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Senior Curator of American Art and Director of the Center for American Art
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