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Two Hundred American Watercolors

May 15 – June 4, 1941
Ground Floor, Central Gallery

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: This was the first loan exhibition ever held at the National Gallery of Art. John Marin, Charles Burchfield, Buk Ulreich, and Eliot O'Hara selected 200 watercolors from 10,000 entries in a national competition, intended for the decoration of the United States Carville, Louisiana, Marine Hospital for lepers. The competition was directed by Edward Bruce, head of the Section of Fine Arts, Federal Works Agency, Public Buildings Administration. 300 additional watercolors were purchased by the government at $30 each, and 100 more with funds made available by the Carnegie Corporation. One-third of the watercolors were sent to the hospital and two-thirds were retained temporarily to go on tour. The government later purchased 150 additional watercolors, to be displayed in two other federal hospitals. Most of the 51 women and 103 men exhibiting were under 30 years of age; they came from 25 states, the District of Columbia, and the Territory of Hawaii. The exhibition was popular both with the public and critics. Attendance on one day (Saturday, May 31) exceeded 23,000.

Brochure: An Exhibition of Two Hundred American Watercolors, by Edward Bruce and Forbes Watson. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1941.

Other Venues: Cleveland
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York