Some of the most influential watercolor art critics from the early 19th century were Samuel Dixon, John Ruskin, Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, and Winslow Homer. All of these artists shared the same passion to illustrate the accuracy of nature and animals.
Albrecht Dürer, A Young Hare, 1502, Watercolor Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) is often recognized as the first all-around master of watercolor. Albrecht chose to focus on landscapes and in many ways, his inquiring approach to landscape anticipated the best of the great 19th-century watercolor tradition.
The first ten years of the 20th century saw a move in Western art away from the realism that had dominated since the 15th century, toward an approach loosely labeled "Abstraction." The advance of photography, invented in the mid-19th century, seemed to have ended the quest to represent reality. Some of the most significant 20th century artists have used abstract images and have found the fluid nature of watercolor ideal for producing these kinds of forms. By the 20th century, abstract artists had found new ways of using watercolor - for example, Picasso's harsh brushwork in Head of a Woman. Because of the medium's immediacy - any errors are difficult to correct - it is perfect for artists exploring basic shapes and colors. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is considered to be one of the 20th century's most important artists. Born in Spain, he spent most of his life in France. He was an original member of the Cubist group in the early 20th century, and later became involved with Surrealism. Although much of his art was semi-abstract, it remained dominated by the human figure.
Watercolor Paintings & Artists >>