Watercolor, from prehistoric caves to comics

8 janvier 2016

, , , , Minute Art

The watercolor, an ancient technique

The watercolor (from Latin Aquarius, relative to water) is a water paint based only on the transparency of its colors. This is one of the oldest painting techniques, certainly dating from prehistoric rock paintings in Europe where color pigments suspended in water were probably used. It is at least known since the Egyptian era to decorate the burial chambers in particular. If the Chinese have used it a lot in the 3rd century, painting on silk with inks and dyes soluble in water, its history as an art actually begins in the Renaissance.

The preferred painting of travelers

Long distant from the prevailing artistic trends in painting in oil, watercolor is being honored by the German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) to represent wildlife, landscapes and botanical elements. Very popular with naturalists and explorers as it is a compact and easy medium to carry, watercolor is often used to image the new territories. Real traveler painter, Eugène Delacroix will use it to color and complete drawings of his famous “Carnets de Voyages” in the mid 19th century.

(Artworks of Albrecht Dürer)

The rise in the 19th century England

Still neglected in favor of casein paint and oil paint during the classical period, watercolor, whose term is not yet well defined (Diderot uses the terms gouache and watercolor around 1760), will experience strong growth in England. In 1766, William Reeves will launch the first commercial production of watercolors and, in 1804, the movement acquired a new dimension thanks to the Royal Watercolour Society whom Palmer, Bonington and Turner are the main protagonists.  Paul Cézanne realizes more than 600 artworks with this medium, including one titled "Nature Morte au melon vert" which was sold in 2009 to $ 25.5 million.

A technique still used today

In the 20th century, watercolor used by Rodin (“Les etudes de danseuses”), Rouault (“Les nus”), Kandinsky, Schiele, Nolde or Macke shows the freedom it allows to achieve. Different renewals of this technique succeed in the 1960s with Dufy, Zao Wou-Ki and Bazaine then in the 1970s with Pierre Risch and finally, more recently, with Jean-Francois Morelle, Powers, Wei, or Paterson. Comics’ draftmen still are coloring in watercolor as well as illustrators of books, especially those intended for children.

The watercolorist Violaine Abbatucci is the Carré d’artistes® artist of the month

Comme d'habitude, Violaine Abbatucci

In the spotlight for the first month of 2016, this self-taught installed in Nice since 1987 realizes figurative subjects in watercolor with rich colors chosen to represent real atmospheres. Violaine Abbatucci is particularly fond of the watercolor technique, which involves non full control of the medium associated with water and brings a lot of surprises and hazard. The wide range   of nuances also allows her to seize the moment, a situation, an atmosphere. Footprints of the artist’s history, of her experience, her meetings, the environment surrounding, her artworks, witnesses of a furtive emotion, transcribe a story of the moment, from which each one can be the interpreter.

Discover the artworks of Violaine Abbatucci

"It's a duel: me and the torrential water. My gestures, sometimes rebellious, must be intentional, and my eye, such a filter. That I see the point. And let’s be accidental"

Violaine Abbatucci

Find other watercolorists in the galleries of Carré d'artistes®, as Jacques Zerr, Masako Masukawa, Edith Thurnherr or Ender Dikmen.