Watercolor artworks have a prominent place of their own in the SCAG collection. Loved and perfected by many Bulgarian artists, the watercolor technique has a peculiar charm and ability to captivate. Watercolor artworks, whether they are spontaneous light sketches or artfully designed fully completed works, whether they are portraits, landscapes, compositions or artistic impressions, captivate the viewer with their spontaneity and poeticism.
Known from as early as antiquity, watercolor painting developed in China after the invention of paper, becoming popular around Europe significantly later. The precursor of the watercolor technique is painting on freshly applied plaster /fresco painting/, whose effect is similar to that of watercolor. Initially, watercolor was used in European painting as an ancillary technique for the preparation of sketches, drafts or quick drawings. It was as late as the 18th – 19th century that watercolor became an independent art form. Watercolor’s intrinsic lightness and exquisiteness, the rich potential for a variety of effects – from the artist barely touching the paper through to deep colorful layering, make it the technique of choice for many artists.
The SCAG exhibition features 80 watercolor artworks. Without claiming to present a thorough chronological timeline, the exhibition follows the development of the watercolor technique in Bulgarian art, starting from the late 19th century through to the late 20th century. Alongside the early notable works from the SCAG collection by Josef Oberbauer, Georgi Kanela or Yaroslav Veshin, the exhibition focuses on the most prominent Bulgarian watercolor masters – Nikola Marinov, Constantine Starkelov, Yordan Geshev, Dechko Uzunov, Vasil Stoilov, etc. Works by a number of artists such as Genko Genkov, Simeon Venov, Vasil Chakarov, Alexander Poplilov, Vasil Valev, Lyuben Zidarov, Thomas Kochev, Mihail Deyanov, Nenko Tokmakchiev, Zahari Kamenov, Nina Kovacheva, etc. provide an idea of the various approaches and styles adopted between the mid-20th and the late 20th century, revealing the rich expressive potential and poetic beauty of watercolor painting.