Watercolor: A History

A History

Marie-Pierre Salé

Published by Abbeville Press

This exclusive slipcased edition, available only to Folio customers and published by Abbeville Press, is arguably the most comprehensive and lavishly illustrated history of watercolour painting. It is available for a limited time only with a 20% saving.

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This special slipcased edition has been published by Abbeville Press exclusively for Folio customers. Limited to only 500 copies, the spectacular art history is available to buy directly from Folio, with a 20% discount.  

Inside, Louvre curator Marie-Pierre Salé provides an authoritative and beautifully illustrated account of a versatile and beloved artistic medium. From the staggering beauty of Albrecht Dürer’s Left Wing of a Blue Roller to the realist Summer Vacation by Anders Zorn; and Cezanne’s striking Portrait of Vallier the Gardener, the breadth, complexity and possibilities of watercolour are explored through these exquisite reproductions. This spectacular volume features more than 300 full-colour illustrations, which are printed on Munken paper to capture the vibrancy and texture of the original works. A valuable appendix, based on primary sources, traces the technical development of the medium and completes this spectacular collector’s volume.

  • Production Details

    Published by Abbeville Press

    400 pages

    300 colour illustrations


    250 mm x 315 mm

  • From humble beginnings to worldwide appreciation 

    Watercolour is so widely practiced and appreciated that it can be startling to reflect on its humble origins. For hundreds of years, watercolour laboured in the shadow of oil painting; it was dismissed as a mere tool for creating preparatory studies, or as a ‘feminine’ pastime. However, from the Renaissance there have been artists who recognised the unique potential of watercolour: its luminosity, its immediacy, its ability to create atmosphere – qualities that derive directly from the quick-drying, translucent nature of the water-based pigments that define the medium.

  • A stunning showcase 

    Salé’s highly researched and fascinating text traces the development of watercolour from the thirteenth to the twentieth century in Europe and the United States, encompassing every type of work – from plein-air sketches to finished studio pieces – and a wide variety of artists. From Durer’s detailed animal studies, Turner’s landscapes and Cézanne’s tireless explorations, to Sargent’s light-dappled sketches and O’Keeffe’s pioneering abstractions, Salé tells the story of how these artists unlocked the aesthetic power of watercolour and established it as a medium in its own right.


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