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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.
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