The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, June 23, 2018

Watercolours from the Stadel Museum Collection on View in Germany
Ernst Wilhelm Nay (1902-1968), Lofoten Landscape with Lake and a Barge, 1938. Watercolor over pencil on handmade laid paper, 59 x 208mm. Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. Photo: Peter McClennan.

FRANKFURT.- The fascination of watercolour is unique. Like no other technique, it is able to express the luminosity, purity, and transparency of colours. Its painterly qualities are marked by lightness, freshness, and spontaneity. The exhibition “Watercolours from the Städel Museum Collection Department of Prints and Drawings” encourages spectators to explore the great diversity of this ambitious technique by means of outstanding examples from the collection’s own holdings, up to the recent present. Vedute, landscapes viewed from close up or at a distance, such atmospheric impressions as cloud studies, still lifes, as well as seemingly surreal pictorial inventions by Jean-Jacques de Boissieu, Carl Philipp Fohr, Carl Rottmann, Carl Morgenstern, Rudolf von Alt, Louis Eysen, Paul Cézanne, Lovis Corinth, Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Georg Baselitz, Claes Oldenburg, and many other prominent artists attest to a virtuoso handling of the brush in combination with water-soluble, glazing paint.

The term “watercolour” already suggests that the finely ground pigments of the paint, mixed with a binder such as gum arabic, are dissolved in water as an essential element of the painting process. With hairbrushes ranging from pointed to broad and absorbing or giving off different quantities of paint, the transparent colours are applied to the paper, either generously or in delicate lines or dots. The translucency of the colours accounts for the medium’s charm. Watercolour paint lets the paper support shine through and unlike bodycolour allows the colour to be suffused with light, so that the spectator is confronted with images of almost immaterial quality. Only the watercolour technique has the capacity for combining the precision of drawing with the spatial illusionism of painting. It can serve to describe things realistically, as well as express a painterly rhythm. Above all, it requires imagination and a supreme command of the medium in order to be able to build a motif from the luminosity of the paper by proceeding from the lightest to the darkest shades. The surface texture of the paper is decisive as well. Most of the demands made on watercolour painting are met by absorbent paper that dries relatively fast without warping, so that the glazing layers of paint can be swiftly applied on top of each other.

Looking at watercolours, one can differentiate between various methods that can also be combined. The transparent paint is applied to the dry paper with a wet brush. After it has dried, a translucent layer of the same or a different colour can be added, resulting in either a shadow effect (Odilon Redon) or a third hue. The composition is thus built by advancing from the lighter to the darker sections (Ernst Fries). Tones that have previously been mixed in water can be applied as well. If the artist works wet on wet, a brush dipped into clear water is used to graduate paint that is still wet. This watercolour wash technique is distinguished from another method of wet-on-wet painting where different colours are caused to blend on the paper in order to achieve new shades (Emil Nolde).

Quite frequently, watercolour is combined with other painting and drawing techniques, such as opaque gouache painting (Louis-Gabriel Moreau). In many watercolours one can recognize outlines or a preliminary sketch of the composition in graphite (Johann Heinrich Müntz), chalk (Claes Oldenburg), or pen and ink (Karl Philipp Fohr). Examples by Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, who scratches out delicate lines from the paint layer, or Jakob Nussbaum, who mixes the darkest watercolour tone with grains of sand, give us an idea of atypical uses of watercolour. The development of contemporary art in the twentieth century has also brought about media crossovers (Karl Bohrmann, Arnulf Rainer).

In order to illustrate the multifaceted spectrum of watercolour painting, the exhibition offers a survey that has been exclusively compiled from the Städel Museum’s own holdings. The selected works cover the period from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century; conceived thus as a synopsis of the medium in question, the display allows for an instructive and entertaining exploration of the fascinating world of watercolour.

Starting in the early fifteenth century, the transparent quality of watercolour paint was used to colour prints or linear drawings (Albrecht Dürer). Aiming to generate illusionistic effects, artists have designed stained glass windows, ceiling paintings (Jacob de Wit, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo) and stage settings (Giorgio Fuentes), a church (Leo von Klenze), or even a complete town (Friedrich Maximilian Hessemer).

For centuries, watercolours have served to produce naturalistic renderings of the realm of plants, such as the botanical study by Maria Sibylla Merian, the still life by the Dutchman Wybrand Hendriks, or the green leafy branch by the Frenchman Odilon Redon. The native fauna is reflected in the fish by an unidentified master of the late 16th century or in the Crab by the Dutch painter Jan van Huysum.

In the late eighteenth century, artists developed a growing interest in studying nature on the spot, in order to discover landscape motifs worth depicting. For instance, Christoph Heinrich Kniep viewed Capri from the Bay of Naples; in Hesse, Friedrich Christian Reinermann captured the ruin of Kalsmunt near Wetzlar; Christian Georg Schütz rendered the village of Reifenberg from the Feldberg, an elevation in the Taunus mountain range. All three of them assigned to their large-format watercolours the status of oil paintings, whereas the Frankfurt-based painter Carl Morgenstern, at the age of 17, made a small, “private” panorama of the river Main.

The watercolours by German Romanticists in the Städel Museum’s collection are dominated by Italianate landscape impressions. The promising talent of Karl Philipp Fohr, who died prematurely, is illustrated by a finely nuanced cloud study from his sketchbook and a Tyrolean landscape. Watercolours by Hippolyte Flandrin and Muirhead Bone attest to the medium’s suitability for capturing the atmosphere of a certain time of the day. The town of Siena inspired Max Klinger to do watercolour studies for the background of his monumental painting The Crucifixion of Christ.

The French painter Paul Cézanne’s Chestnut Trees at the Jas de Bouffan numbers among the highlights of the Frankfurt collection. In this watercolour, the artist succeeded in lending his rigid composition both a classical and a modern touch. The friends Henri-Edmond Cross and Paul Signac shared a Neo-Impressionist approach, and both of them drew their inspirations from the bright light of the Mediterranean coast. August Macke chose complementary colour contrasts for his work Hilterfingen am Thunersee.

The late self-portrait of Lovis Corinth conveys the impression of swiftness and effervescence, as if the artist had been wrestling with the medium. The liberation of colour – its separation from form and preliminary outlines – is demonstrated by both figural motifs and landscapes in watercolours by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Emil Nolde. In Wildboden and the late work Dancing Couple, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner sought to achieve a synthesis between the two-dimensional effects of the applied watercolour paint and the compositional framework of his drawing.

Among the watercolours of German post-war art, the abstract Composition by Karl Otto Götz, laid out in expressive, broad bands of colour, conquers the blank picture space. Hann Trier likewise understood how to make use of the luminous quality of the medium in his abstract, constructive configurations. In the context of our selection, Ernst Wilhelm Nay’s early work, a powerfully impressive Lofoten landscape, anticipates the art of A.R. Penck, whereas Nay’s late Mykonos watercolour seems to lead up to Georg Baselitz. Claes Oldenburg ignores both the function and relative dimensions of everyday objects, spreading them within the surreal picture space with irritating matter-of-factness. For his watercolour, he chose a piece of crispbread, which he playfully turned into a sports field. Sam Francis succeeded in underscoring the quality of watercolour painting by negation; in the course of a rather contemplative observation of the picture, the spectator’s eye is sensitized to the rich nuances achieved by the skillful handling of water, colour, and light.

Last Week News

October 1, 2008

100th Anniversary of Gustav Klimt And The Kunstschau 1908 at Belvedere in Vienna

Musee du Quay Branly Opens a Window onto the Different Eskimo and Inuit Cultures

Factura 2008 the Second International Painting Festival of Villefranche de Lonchat Set to Open

Bob Dylan - The Drawn Blank Series Takes to the Road with International Exhibition Tour

Christie's Auction of Post-War and Contemporary Art to Offer Exceptional Works

Five Museums and Five Libraries to Receive Nation's Highest Honor at White House Ceremony

Renzo Piano to Receive the Sonning Prize 2008 at the Ceremonial Hall at University of Copenhagen

Roger M. Buergel Appointed Chief Curator of Miami Art Museum

The Holburne Portrait Prize Finalists on View at Holburne Museum of Art

Casa Asia in Barcelona Presents Rong Rong & inri: The Power of Ruins

Detroit Institute of Arts Opens Jane Hammond Exhibition

Young Belgian Painters Award 2009 Selects Seven Candidates

Huntington Expands Collections Strategically, Acquiring Eight Works of Art

Cue Art Foundation Presents Jim Pirtle Curated by the Art Guys

Planning a City Break? Scrub Up on its Art with Help from The Art Fund

Symposiun: Disruptions: The Political in Art Now

California Sculptor Peter Schifrin Creates Monumental Sculpture for Upstate New York Estate

Fuller Craft Museum to Host Community Day to Ready for the Perfect Fit

September 30, 2008

Still Life Exhibition From the Prado Museum Opens at Caja Inmaculada in Zaragoza

Lynda and Stewart Resnick Donate $55 Million to LACMA

Important November Russian Art Auction Announced at Gene Shapiro Auctions LLC

Christie's to Offer an Exceptional Auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art in Dubai

SBMA Celebrates Decade of Photography Acquisitions

Turn and Widen: 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale

Sotheby's London to Hold Inaugural Sale of Modern and Contemporary Design in October

"Water Planet" Showcases Connection Between Water and Life

Christie's to Offer Fine Chinese Art From the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in March 2009

Danish Filmmaker Jesper Just has U.S. Premiere at Brooklyn Museum

Treasures from the British Museum Going to Royal BC Museum

Miyako Ishiuchi - Photographs 1976 - 2005 at FOAM Fotografiemuseum

Tacoma Art Museum Announces the 9th Northwest Biennial Participants

South Street Seaport Museum Exhibition Explores Roosevelt's Passion for Collecting and the Allure of the Sea

September 29, 2008

Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences Opened in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

Group of Leonardo Drawings Shown for the First Time in U.S.

Emil Nolde Exhibition Opens at the Grand Palais in Paris

Artists Included in Turner Prize Shortlist to Show Their Work at Tate Britain

Kunsthaus Zürich Presents Rivoluzione! Italian Modernism from

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Three Significant Additions to its Celebrated Collection

Celts and Scandinavians: Artistic Connections From 7th to 12th Century at Musée National du Moyen Age

Framing and Being Framed: The Uses of Documentary Photography

Contemporary Arts Center Presents Austrian Painter Maria Lassnig's First Exhibition in the U.S.

The Studio at The Herbert Art Gallery to Show The World of Apu

Arts of the Islamic World: Sotheby's to Sell Rare Treasures

Blanton Museum of Art Presents The New York Graphic Workshop, 1964 - 1970

Oskar Kokoschka Exhibition in Compton Verney

Exhibition on 19th Century American Presidential Campaign Art Opens at Fenimore Art Museum

Four Kings: A Special Installation at the National Portrait Gallery

Williams Family Presents Major Gift of Western American Paintings To the Cincinnati Art Museum

Mark Dion Is the 2008 Winner of Smithsonian American Art Museum's Annual Contemporary Artist Award

International Sxulpture Center Opens 2008 Membership Conference This Week

September 28, 2008

Louvre Opens a Major Retrospective of Great Master of the Renaissance Andrea Mantegna

Venice: From Canaletto and Turner to Monet Opens at Fondation Beyeler

Cubist Masterpiece by Pablo Picasso to be Sold by Sotheby's New York on November 3

MCA Denver Showcases Large-Scale Works by Damien Hirst in a Blockbuster Exhibit

Christie's Announces the Sale of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Collection

Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York Opens at the Blanton Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art Presents Objects of Wonder From the Ohio State University

Québec City and its Photographers, 1850-1908: The Yves Beauregard Collection

Guggenheim Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Announce Exhibition

Natascha Sadr Haghighian: Fruit of One's Labour at Frankfurter Kunstverein

Stephen Antonakos Retrospective at Allentown Art Museum

Links Between Higher Education and the Arts Strengthened by New University of the Arts London Partnership with LCACE

The Tubman Museum Announces $1.5 Million Grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation

Silvia Karman Cubiñá Appointed Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Bass Museum of Art

Birmingham Museum of Art Installs Exhibition of New Works by American Artist Sharon Louden

Academy of Art Univeristy Students Create Awe Inspiring Mural for Porziuncola

Guggenheim Foundation Elects Carl Gustaf Ehrnrooth to Board of Trustees

AGO Continues its Transformation with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

September 27, 2008

Stolen Nude by Pierre-Auguste Renoir Is Recovered in Italy After 33 Years - Three Arrested

Andy Warhol: Pop Politics at Manchester's Currier Museum of Art

Jan Fabre: From the Cellar to the Attic, From the Feet to the Brain at Kunsthaus Bregenz

Museum of Arts and Design Opens New Home at Columbus Circle Designed by Brad Cloepfil

Enchanted Eyes: Surrealist Drawings and Prints on View at Kunstmuseum Basel

Fenimore Art Museum to Present a Major Retrospective on the Work of Earl Cunningham

Lawrence Weiner - As Far as the Eye Can See Opens at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

Erwin Olaf - Rain, Hope, Grief & Fall Opens at Hague Museum of Photography

Jean-Pierre Gauthier: Machines at Play Opens at Akron Art Museum

ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art to Open The Discreet Charm of Technology: Arts in Spain

The Other Mainstream II: Selections From the Collection of Mikke and Stanley Weithorn Opens

Paris Portraits: Artists, Friends, and Lovers Opens at Bruce Museum

The Harwood Museum of Art Announces New Development Director

New Public Art Finds Inspiration in the Anaphoric Clock

Cheekwood Museum of Art Presents Its Second Scarecrows Exhibition

Palmer Museum of Art Presents Selling the Susquehanna

September 26, 2008

Henri Matisse: People, Masks, Models Exhibition Opens Today at Staatsgalerie Sttutgart

First Major Exhibition Dedicated to the Late Works of Mark Rothko at Tate Modern

Catherine Opie: American Photographer Opens at the Guggenheim Museum in New York

El Lissitzky - Futurist Portfolios Opens at University of Virginia Art Museum

Francis Bacon's Women On View at Faggionato Fine Art

Vitra Design Museum Presents George Nelson - Architect, Writer, Designer, Teacher

Sotheby's Mid-Season Sale of American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture

National Gallery of Victoria Opens Remaking Fashion Exhibition

Stroom Den Hague Presents Since We Last Spoke About Monuments

Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey Opens at Indianapolis Museum of Art

What You See Is What You Get at Centre national de l'audiovisuel

Smithsonian American Art Museum Presents Exhibition of Works by American Art Icons Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams

Arnulf Rainer - Dieter Roth. Mixing and Separating at Belvedere

Art Institute Names New Chair of Photography Department: Matthew Witkovsky

Pearce & Ramsey: Best in Show Exhibition at the John Jones Project Space

British Columbia's Young Artists to Benefit from New $2 Million Audain Emerging Artists Acquisition Fund

Super Kingdom - London Fieldworks Complete Hibernator Trilogy with Animal Show Homes at Stour Valley Arts

The Franklin Institute Announces Death of Joel N. Bloom; Museum Pioneer

Entry Deadline November 15 for California's Premier Juried Exhibition

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Related Stories

Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful