'British Watercolors from the Permanent Collection' opens Jan. 7

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Palmer Museum of Art is excited to present "British Watercolors from the Permanent Collection," which will be on view at the museum Jan. 7 through May 4.

Although painting with watercolor reaches as far back as the 16th century in Europe — Albrecht Dürer’s animal and bird studies come immediately to mind — the medium blossomed as an autonomous approach only in the middle years of the 18th century. Watercolor became particularly attractive in England, where the acceptance of landscape as an appropriate subject matter, coupled with the widespread availability of readily portable cakes of water soluble pigment that allowed artists to work sur le motif, led to a tradition that, by the early years of the 19th century, grew to rival oil painting in beauty and desirability.

This exhibition celebrates the so-called Golden Age of British watercolors, the period spanning roughly from 1750 to 1850, when the medium reached its pinnacle in the hands of artists such as John Varley, Francis Towne, David Cox, and Peter de Wint, all of whom are represented in the exhibition. Also on view are several early sketches by John Ruskin, the English critic whose devotion to nature harmonized with many of the more practiced watercolorists and two picturesque studies of southern China by George Chinnery.

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is located on Curtin Road and admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and some holidays. Closed Saturday, Dec. 21, through Wednesday, Jan. 1. Reduced hours over winter break are noon to 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, through Sunday, Jan. 12. The museum is closed Monday, Jan. 6.

The Palmer Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Also on view at the Palmer Museum of Art this spring are "Forging Alliances," Jan. 7 through May 11; and "Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades," Jan. 21 through May 11. "Surveying Judy Chicago: Five Decades" was organized by the museum in partnership with A.R.T. Corp.

For more information or to request images for media use, contact Jennifer Feehan, coordinator of membership and public relations, at 814-863-9182 or jenfeehan@psu.edu.

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Last Updated December 17, 2013