Under-Appreciated Watercolors Celebrated

“Gryphons, Azores” (watercolor on paper, 23 x 30 in. Photo: HSM&L) by Timothy J. Clark

“Since the days of Washington Irving, Spain has held a fascination for American writers and visual artists,” according to the Hispanic Society Museum & Library (HSM&L). “John Singer Sargent painted at the Prado in Madrid and in Granada, other 19th-century North American painters such as William Merritt Chase, Harry Humphrey Moore, and Mary Cassatt, and younger artists such as Childe Hassam and Robert Henri, toured and painted in Spain as an essential part of their artistic development. (Henri’s colleagues George Luks and George Wesley Bellows were also strongly influenced by Spanish art.) When The Hispanic Society of America (HSM&L) opened its doors in 1908, the Society itself became a source of inspiration for American artists with Hispanic interests.

“Stepping into the Light”

“For example, Hassam (1859–1935), visited the exhibition of paintings by Joaquín Sorolla in 1909 and was inspired to go to Spain. His paintings from Spain in 1910 were exhibited in New York in spring 1911, where Sorolla saw them and brought Archer Milton Huntington to the exhibition. Huntington acquired at least three pictures and three watercolors. …

“El Transparente”
“Zahara Rooftops”

“The current exhibition, ‘American Travelers: A Watercolor Journey Through Spain, Portugal, and Mexico,’ shares an under-appreciated resource of the Hispanic Society Museum Department collections, the large collection of watercolors by United States artists painted in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America. Works by Hassam and others are presented in conjunction with a suite of recent watercolor paintings by California artist Timothy J. Clark (b. 1951). Clark was inspired by the Sorolla in America exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art – over half of which was provided by the Hispanic Society – to conduct several campaigns in Spain and Mexico. Like Hassam and the others before him, Clark depicted monuments, interiors, and cityscapes, both with figures and as compositions in themselves, as well as still lifes. His works are presented as easel-sized paintings, similar in size to oils, but executed in watercolor.”

“Mexican Bicycle”

The exhibition American Travelers: A Watercolor Journey Through Spain, Portugal, and Mexico, featuring the contemporary works of Timothy J. Clark will be on display at the Hispanic Society Museum & Library of New York (HSM&L) through October 16, 2022.


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