playlist

USDA Pomological Watercolors: Nuts & Legumes

One of the more peculiar moments of American visual history is the USDA’s (United States Department of Agriculture) collection of almost 8,000 botanical watercolors, commissioned between 1886 and 1942. The collection serves as an archive of American farmers’ discoveries of plant species during a period of great expansion in farming methodologies and cultivation. Known as The Pomological Watercolor Collection, these illustrations also served to employ artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—even through the Great Depression. One important aspect of the collection’s history is that about one third of the artists employed were women, and the female artists produced a majority of the images. The commissions were executed when women were still largely excluded from the art world and were only just allowed into formal art schools.

This particular playlist brings you a curated selection of Nuts and Legumes, which demonstrate the deeply technical skills of these artists who worked in watercolor, one of the most difficult mediums for detailed painting.

Works

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JuglansAmanda Almira Newton, 1911
Juglans
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Carya IllinoinensisEllen Isham Schutt
Carya Illinoinensis
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Carya IllinoinensisEllen Isham Schutt
Carya Illinoinensis
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ArachisAmanda Almira Newton, 1909
Arachis
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Caryocar NuciferumRoyal Charles Steadman, 1920
Caryocar Nuciferum
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JuglansAmanda Almira Newton, 1911
Juglans
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JuglansAmanda Almira Newton, 1908
Juglans
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Juglans RegiaEllen Isham Schutt, 1908
Juglans Regia
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Carya IllinoinensisBertha Heiges, 1904
Carya Illinoinensis
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Carya IllinoinensisEllen Isham Schutt
Carya Illinoinensis