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Watercolor Paintings

Watercolor is made from a combination of pigment and transparent gum, such as gum arabic, diluted in water. Depending upon the amount of dilution, the white of the support shows through the watercolor and becomes part of the picture. Albrecht Dürer was one master of watercolor, using different levels of dilution to paint lighter and darker areas giving depth to his landscapes.

Watercolor is associated with precision, and is often utilized in detailed wildlife or botanical images. Artists are aware of the potential connotations when they choose to paint in watercolor. For a time, watercolor was seen as a medium strictly for women, but Paul Cézanne, Joseph Mallord William Turner, and Eugène Delacroix renewed its masculinity.

The range of artistic expression available in watercolor is staggering. From humorous animal-like pictures by George Condo, to a hat by Jim Dine, to watercolor images of stylish French aristocrats in bound books, the watercolor medium has an extraordinary variety of offerings. Artists often use watercolor in combination with other media, such as oil, crayon, pencil, or gouache.


Quick Facts

  • Sotheby’s New York sold Eva Hesse’s "Untitled," 1963, a collage on paper with watercolor, gouache, ink, and crayon, for $162,500 on March 5, 2015
  • The same company sold "Still Life and Young Girl (A Double-sided Work)," 1975, in watercolor on paper by Fernand Botero, for $56,250 on June 25, 2014
  • Christie’s New York sold Andy Warhol’s "One Dollar," 1961, in watercolor and graphite on paper, for $5.2 million on November 12, 2013

Recommended Items at Auction

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P.R. McINTOSH WATERCOLOR ON PAPER
Oct 26, 6:00 PM PDT
P.R. McINTOSH WATERCOLOR ON PAPER
by O'Gallerie
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
P.R. McINTOSH WATERCOLOR ON PAPER
Oct 26, 6:00 PM PDT
P.R. McINTOSH WATERCOLOR ON PAPER
by O'Gallerie
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
THOMAS ALLOM (London 1804-1872 London) Lancashire, Furness Abbey, Chapter House.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
THOMAS ALLOM (London 1804-1872 London) Lancashire, Furness Abbey, Chapter House.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$1,1000 Bids
DAVID ROBERTS (Edinburgh 1796-1864 London) Interior of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
DAVID ROBERTS (Edinburgh 1796-1864 London) Interior of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $10,000- $15,000
$7,5000 Bids
EUGÈNE LAMI (Paris 1800-1890 Paris) Le Départ pour la chasse.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
EUGÈNE LAMI (Paris 1800-1890 Paris) Le Départ pour la chasse.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$7500 Bids
EDOUARD GURK (Vienna 1801-1841 Jerusalem) An Outdoor Theatrical Presentation for the Vienna Rothschild Family.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
EDOUARD GURK (Vienna 1801-1841 Jerusalem) An Outdoor Theatrical Presentation for the Vienna Rothschild Family.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $3,000- $5,000
$2,2000 Bids
GENOVESE SCHOOL, EARLY 19TH CENTURY A View of the Harbor at Genoa.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
GENOVESE SCHOOL, EARLY 19TH CENTURY A View of the Harbor at Genoa.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $5,000- $8,000
$3,6000 Bids
HERMANN EICHLER (Vienna 1842-1901 Vienna) Full-Length Portrait of an Artist Holding a Sculpture.
Nov 03, 12:00 PM EDT
HERMANN EICHLER (Vienna 1842-1901 Vienna) Full-Length Portrait of an Artist Holding a Sculpture.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$7500 Bids
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Kurt Westergaard Signed Unicorn and Inkwell Watercolor with ALS on Verso
Nov 10, 10:30 AM EST
Kurt Westergaard Signed Unicorn and Inkwell Watercolor with ALS on Verso
by University Archives
Est: $200- $300
$700 Bids
HENRY CHARLES TENRE WATERCOLOR ON PAPER
Oct 26, 6:00 PM PDT
HENRY CHARLES TENRE WATERCOLOR ON PAPER
by O'Gallerie
Est: $500- $700
$2500 Bids
Pietro Finelli (b.1957) Modern Watercolor Painting
Nov 17, 12:00 PM EST
Pietro Finelli (b.1957) Modern Watercolor Painting
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Watercolor Paintings


Grogan & Company

Grogan & Company

Swann Auction Galleries

Swann Auction Galleries

O'Gallerie

O'Gallerie

University Archives

University Archives