7 most famous watercolour artists

To celebrate and share our love of watercolour, we wanted to share our top 7 watercolour artists. 

Famous watercolour artists not only have an influence on modern art, but some of these names have also had their fair share of influential power on modern cultures. 

Before the invention of the camera, people used watercolours to document the world. Over the centuries, painters – both professional and amateur – created hundreds of thousands of images recording life as they witnessed it.

1. Vincent Van Gogh

The artist from Holland, Vincent van Gogh, was an artist whose work was one of the most important influences of 20th-century art and whose depression was well-known. Although he was most famous for his oil paintings, he still has a collection of over 150 watercolour painting pieces. Everybody has heard of Van Gogh!

Famous Van Gogh Watercolour Paintings Include:

A Sunday in Eindhoven - by Vincent van Gogh
Entrance to the Moulin de la Galette - by Vincent van GoghEntrance to the Moulin de la Galette - by Vincent van Gogh

2. Paul Klee

Paul Klee was a German artist of Swiss origin. His individuality was influenced by artistic movements such as expressionism, cubism, and surrealism.

Famous Paul Klee Watercolour Paintings Include:

The Seaside in the Rain by Paul Klee
Hammamet with Its Mosque by Paul Klee
The Seaside in the Rain by Paul Klee Hammamet with Its Mosque by Paul Klee 

3. Georgia O’Keeffe

One of the most influential women in the medium, Georgia O’Keeffe was one of the first American Modernists. She was the first woman to gain fame for the style. She’s well-known for her southwest landscapes and portrayals.

Throughout her life and career, Georgia O’Keeffe practiced with many different mediums, from oil paint to charcoals and pastels. She initially created highly abstract pieces of art, but eventually became known for her depictions of American skyscrapers, flowers, and mountainous landscapes, such as Mount Fuji. 

She also mastered the art of watercolour painting, creating 51 pieces of watercolour art between 1916 and 1918. These experimental, abstract paintings are nothing like the sophisticated oil paintings she’s recognised for; however, they represent a period in her life when she was searching for her voice and style. 

Famous Georgia O’Keeffe Watercolour Paintings Include:

Canyon With Crows, 1917, watercolour and graphite on paper by Georgia O’Keeffe
Evening Star No. VI, watercolour on paper by Georgia O’Keeffe  Canyon With Crows, 1917, watercolour and graphite on paper by Georgia O’KeeffeEvening Star No. VI, watercolour on paper by Georgia O’Keeffe

4. Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky, a painter and theorist of Russian art, rose to fame decades ago. It is widely accepted that Kandinsky is a pioneer of abstract art. 

Famous Wassily Kandinsky Watercolour Paintings Include:

Untitled (First Abstract Watercolour) - Wassily Kandinsky  Untitled (First Abstract Watercolour) - Wassily Kandinsky

5. Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne is one of the most influential artists in history—so much so that Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso referred to him as “the father of us all.” In his artwork, Cézanne strived to simplify naturally occurring forms into the simplest geometric shapes possible. For example, he might have painted a tree trunk as a cylinder or an apple as a sphere. 

Initially, Cézanne used watercolours primarily in initial sketches, but they eventually became his preferred medium. He generally focused on still lifes, portraits, landscapes (particularly his birthplace in the south of France), and bathing scenes.

Famous Paul Cézanne Watercolour Paintings Include:

Still Life with Blue Pot, 1900–06, Paul Cézanne. Watercolour over graphite.jpgStill Life with Blue Pot, 1900–06, Paul Cézanne. Watercolour over graphite.jpg 

6. J. M. W. Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner RA, known in his time as William Turner, was an English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist. He is known for his expressive colouring, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings. Turner exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1790, showing watercolours until 1796.

Famous Joseph Mallord William Turner Watercolour Paintings Include:

The Scarlet Sunset (watercolour) by Joseph Mallord William Turner,
c. 1830-40, via Tate Britain, LondonThe Scarlet Sunset (watercolour) by Joseph Mallord William Turner

7. John Singer Sargent 

The American, John Singer Sargent, is recognized worldwide as one of the biggest positive influences on the medium and one of the most stimulating and most important artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries artist immigrants.

Famous John Singer Sargent Watercolour Paintings Include:

Muddy Alligators by John Singer Sargent, 1917, watercolour painting
Spanish Fountain by John Singer Sargent, 1902, watercolour painting

Muddy Alligators by John Singer Sargent, 1917, watercolour painting
Spanish Fountain by John Singer Sargent, 1902, watercolour painting

We couldn't close the chapter without Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was a scholar of the Italian Renaissance, who was considered to be one of the greatest artists of all time. The Mona Lisa is Leonardo’s most famous work and the most famous portrait ever created. He was an artist of several mediums, like several artists on this list.

His watercolour works get little recognition compared to his other works. 

Who Inspires You?

Let us know which artists we forgot! This is a list we compiled in our opinion, so there is room for conversation.

If you would like to know more about watercolour (ideas and techniques), check out our watercolour workshop or join our tutorials section to get started in improving your craft!


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