An Urban Life | Watercolor Paintings from the Cleveland School

On view October 3, 2018 to March 9, 2019

Selected from the ZMA’s permanent holdings and one regional collection, this intimate exhibition features a vibrant and brilliantly executed selection of watercolor paintings by artists from The Cleveland School.

Regarded as exceptional watercolorists, members of the Cleveland School were an intergenerational mix of artists who lived and worked in Northeast Ohio and were active from around 1890 through 1960. The stylistically diverse group was named in 1928 by Elrick Davis, a Cleveland Press journalist.

“Watercolor painting is the special pride of Cleveland,” commented Grace Kelly in the May 1942 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It is “the medium through which its artists are known to connoisseurs throughout the country.” This was due in part to the founding of the Cleveland Society of Watercolor Painters in 1892, which elevated this media in the eyes of artists and collectors. Previously thought subordinate to oil painting, watercolor earned a newfound appreciation as a technically challenging and uniquely delicate media. Cleveland School artists preferred the transparent watercolor technique, using layers of wash to capture Northern Ohio’s rare scenic beauty.


Above: George Hitchcock, Garden in Bloom, circa 1950, pastel on paper. On loan from Mr. Carl E. Eriksson.