The Best Professional Pan Watercolor Paints for En Plein Air Works

Watercolor paints come in two forms: in tubes of liquid paint and in pans of dried paint that must be hydrated. Which type to use is a matter of preference, but there are a couple of instances where pans are clearly the better choice. If you like to paint en plein air—a practice ushered in by Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Frédéric Bazille—you’ll likely find that watercolor pans, many of which come in compact carrying cases that can double as palettes, are the most convenient option. They are also a good choice if you paint only occasionally, as you don’t have to worry about your materials drying out. Whatever your reasoning, choosing the right professional paint will make all the difference in your work. For our top recommendations of highly pigmented, rich, flowing pan watercolor paints, browse the list below. 

Daniel Smith Watercolor Half Pans and
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ARTnews in Brief: Roberts Projects Now Represents Dominic Chambers—and More from March 29, 2021

Monday, March 29

Roberts Projects Adds Dominic Chambers
Roberts Projects in Los Angeles now represents Dominic Chambers. In his practice, Chambers explores the lived Black experience through figurative paintings which depict fleeting moments of leisure, contemplation, and camaraderie. Chambers has exhibited at institutions including Luce Gallery in Turin, the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh. He will present a solo exhibition at the gallery in 2022.

Rainin Fellowship Names Inaugural Recipients
The Oakland-based Kenneth Rainin Foundation has announced the inaugural recipients of the Rainin Fellowship, which is administered by United States Artists and supports artists in the Bay Area. The four fellows for 2021, who each get an unrestricted $100,000 grant, are choreographer and performance maker Amara Tabor-Smith; actor, director, playwright, and educator Margo Hall; the People’s Kitchen Collective, an artistic and activist project focusing … Read the rest

For Art Basel’s ‘Pioneers,’ Galleries Bring a Mix of Old and New, Seeing Steady Sales

As galleries and collectors alike continue to adjust to buying and selling art online more than a year into the pandemic, Art Basel launched the first of its 2021 Online Viewing Rooms, which opened to VIPs on March 24 and runs until March 27.

In the past year, Art Basel has expanded its OVRs beyond just replacing its three staple fairs—in Hong Kong, Basel, and Miami Beach—with adding thematic editions focused on specific art-historical periods. Previous editions were devoted to 20th-century art and art made only during 2020. This iteration takes the title of “Pioneers,” and features 100 galleries from around the world, all of which are able to show only eight works at any given time. (As in past editions, galleries are able to swap out works as the fair progresses.)

The art on view in “OVR: Pioneers” centers around artists who have “broken new aesthetic, conceptual, or socio-political … Read the rest

Reuben Family Revealed as Buyer of $15.3 M. Van Gogh Landscape

The London-based Reuben family has been revealed as the buyer of a $15.4 million Vincent van Gogh landscape purchased during Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art sale in Paris on Thursday. Scène de rue à Montmartre (Impasse des deux frères et le Moulin à Poivre), from 1887, made its auction debut there after more than a century in private hands. A representative for the Reubens confirmed that the family had purchased the work.

The Reuben family collection, which comprises modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Modigliani, Warhol and Basquiat, is jointly owned by British billionaire Simon Reuben, his brother David and daughter Lisa. Lisa, who ranks on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list, manages the collection and has previously worked as a specialist in Sotheby’s contemporary art department in London.

In Thursday’s Paris evening sale, the van Gogh was offered twice. When it was initially offered, Lisa Reuben … Read the rest

Amid Jeffrey Epstein Fallout, Leon Black Will Step Down as MoMA Board Chair

Amid growing tension resulting from his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, collector and former Apollo Global Management chief executive Leon Black will not seek re-election this summer as the chair of the Museum of Modern Art’s board of trustees, the New York Times reported on Friday. His current term is set to expire on July 1.

Black has been on MoMA’s board since 1997, and in 2018, he was elected as its board chairman. Throughout his tenure on the board, he has supported the museum through major loans and financial donations. In 2012, after he bought Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of The Scream for $120 million at auction, he lent it to MoMA, which displayed it for several months. In 2018, the same year he assumed leadership at the board, he gave $40 million to the museum’s expansion project, and as a result, its film center now bears his name.

According … Read the rest

Sotheby’s Unveils $35 M. Basquiat Set to Make Auction Debut in May

On Thursday, during a sale in London, Sotheby’s auctioneer Oliver Barker unveiled a 1982 painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that the house will offer for sale in its New York contemporary art evening sale on May 12. Titled Versus Medici (1982), the painting is expected to fetch a price of $35 million–$50 million. If the work reaches its low estimate, it will be among the most expensive works by the artist ever sold at auction.

The painting shows influence from Basquiat’s time in Modena, Italy, where he had his first solo show, at Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in 1981. The title of the piece references the Renaissance-era Medici family, and it has some of the signature Basquiat motifs—a full skeletal figure, a crown, anatomical drawings and scrawled phrases in the background—that are coveted by collectors.

“In Versus Medici, Basquiat melds the political and art historical as he consciously stages a
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“Brandless” Abstractions

One of Merlin James’s most admirable traits as a painter is that he never—or almost never—repeats himself. He has no trademark look or “brand,” and his solo exhibitions often feel at first like group shows. Over four decades, the Welsh-born artist has produced mostly small- and medium-size works, including abstractions that range from painterly lyricism to assemblage-like constructions. The majority of the paintings, however, are figurative, with a wide array of subject matter—figures, landscapes, urban scenes, still-life arrangements, and meditative combinations thereof.

The eighteen pieces in the exhibition “River” were produced over the past three years and run the gamut technically and compositionally. James pays great attention to each work’s inner frame and bracing structure, which he builds himself. Several wholly abstract pieces—more like sculptural reliefs than paintings—comprise layers of translucent vinyl scrims, so that one looks through the work, as through superimposed panes of window glass. Thematically, however, the Read the rest

The Best Products for Stress-Free Block and Monotype Printing

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With the right materials and tools, homemade printmaking can be fun for the whole family—yes, really. Some printmaking processes are complicated or require advanced equipment; for screen printing, for example, you need a superfine mesh screen, and lithography uses special ink-bonding and ink-repellent materials. Not so with these products, which generally require little besides a few simple tools, some ink, and your imagination. From gel printing to drypoint to block printing, our picks below are high quality and affordable, and some are simple enough to be used by kids. 

Grafix Impress Monoprint Plates
These plastic plates from Grafix are an excellent affordable option for versatile forms of monoprinting. Similar to a monotype, a monoprint results from applying and manipulating paint to produce a one-of-a-kind impression, but monoprints Read the rest

Hockney and de Kooning Paintings Headline Sotheby’s Auction of Late L.A. Philanthropists’ Collection

When collectors form deep friendships with artists, they typically have access to purchasing important examples from those artist’s output. Such is the case with  late Los Angeles philanthropists Morris and Rita Pynoos, whose collection will be sold at Sotheby’s New York this spring.

Rich in modern and contemporary art that the couple began amassing in the 1980s, Sotheby’s will offer pieces by David Hockney and Willem de Kooning in a contemporary art evening sale in May, while work by other major American artists, including John McCracken, Louise Nevelson, and Robert Rauschenberg, will be featured in a contemporary art online day sale.

Morris Pynoos, who was an engineer and commercial developer in California, died in 2002 at the age of 84. His wife Rita Pynoos, who served on the Smithsonian American Art Commission, died in September 2019 at the age of 97. They also donated works from their collection to the … Read the rest

‘It’s Pretty Dead-On’: Curator Laura Raicovich on a 1954 Article About the State of Western Museums

Today, critics of museums’ values point to histories of colonialism and structural racism. Museums, they insist, are anything but neutral. In an essay titled “The Ideal Museum” in the January 1954 issue of ARTnews, British art historian Kenneth Clark considered the hidden politics behind Western institutions, exploring the ways that millennia-old collecting habits among the wealthy influenced how museums were run. ARTnews asked for a response to the essay from Laura Raicovich, the former director of institutions including New York’s Queens Museum and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art and the author of the forthcoming book Culture Strike: Art in an Age of Protest. Raicovich’s first reaction to Clark’s analysis: “It’s pretty dead-on.”

The splendor of the great princely collections [forerunners of modern museums] was … inseparable from an element of snobbishness. Like everything connected with princes and millionaires, they were sometimes no more than a buttress to vanity, Read the rest