Notre Dame Cathedral in Watercolor

With the devastating fire at Notre Dame on all our minds, we look back at how the cathedral has inspired watercolor artists over the centuries.

“Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris” (1933, watercolor and pencil on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Emily Finch Gilbert through Julia Post Bastedo, executor, 1962.13.25) by Cass Gilbert
“Notre Dame” (watercolor) by James Asher
“Notre Dame, Paris” by William Callow (1812–1908)


“Paris, Walking by Notre-Dame” (watercolor, gouache, pen and black ink over pencil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11 4 2/5 in.) by Eugène Galien-Laloue (1854–1941)

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


  1. I’m sorry, I have to ask this question: That first painting is being attributed to Cass Gilbert, and the caption dates it 1933. I know that some artist’s signatures can be barely legible, making attributions more difficult, but the signature and date on this painting look exceptionally clear. Does the painting not say “1993”? I know that Cass Gilbert was long dead by then, but would he really have messed up dating his own painting like this? Sorry, I’m not saying the attribution is wrong, but you have to admit, that date on the painting doesn’t look at all like it says 1933 and I’m very curious why. Maybe the image you used is actually a much later copy made after one of his pieces, and the artist decided to replicate his signature on the new piece but re-date it? :-/

  2. Thank you for caring/sharing paintings of “Our Lady of Notre Dame.” The worlds heart aches for the loss of work created by the hands of Artists and Craftsmen over 850 years.


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