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American Watercolor Society

11/2/2012 - 12/18/2012

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On occassion, the Society has also selected outstanding artist or individual who has contributed to the advancement of fine art in general and watercolor in particular. This person is so honored by receiving the highest AWS honor, the Dolphin Medal, at the annual awards banquet. 

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One Hundred Forty-Fifth International Exhibition - 2012

   On the evening of December 5th, 1866, a group of eleven painters met at the studio of Gilbert Burling in the new York University Building to form "The American Society of Painters in Water Color." Fellow artist, Samuel Colman, N.A., was elected as the first president.

The newly formed society held its first exhibition in the fall of 1867 and these annual exhibitions have conitnued to the present time. The first catalog listed forty-two members and four honorary members. The Tenth Annuak Exhibition catalog in 1877 featured the first illustrations which were line cuts, made from pen and ink drawings of the actual paintings. By 1890, blackand white  halftones made their appearance and were replaced ub the 1985 catalog with color photography of all award winning works.

 

   In 1878, the name was changed to the American Watercolor Society, and it was incorporated in 1903.

   In 1888, the first prizes were awarded; two awards of $300 each were sponsored by two patros of the Society. In 1933, the AWS Silver Medal was established, with the AWM Gold Medal of Honor first awarded in 1948.

 

   The traveling shows, first termed "rotary shows," were initiated in 1905, visiting Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis and several other venues.

 

    The annual juried exhibition of the AWM is open to all artists worldswide, and all entries are juried, whether entered by members, associates or independent artists. The exhibition awards total over $40,000 annually. Signature Members number about 500, withmore than 1,200 Sustaining Associates.

 

    On occassion, the Society has also selected outstanding artist or individual who has contributed to the advancement of fine art in general and watercolor in particular. This person is so honored by receiving the highest AWS honor, the Dolphin Medal, at the annual awards banquet. 

 

     At the 100th Anniversary exhibition of the AWS, sponsored by and held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1967, AWS President, Mario Cooper, proclaimed: "It is the hope of The American Watercolor Society that the present exhibition will make the public more conscious of the long and continuing tradition of the art of the watercolor painting in America"... a statement which remains true to this day!