Watkins lost and found

We highlighted a photo of WR Watkins’ 1920s studio in an earlier post. Check the background and you’ll see a small portrait pinned to the wall. Incredibly, that portrait has surfaced almost ninety years later for auction on Ebay this week.

W Watkins studio c1920spastel portrait c1920s

It’s listed as an oil pastel, but that would be a very early use of the medium (which was invented in Japan for schoolchildren in 1921). More likely it is traditional soft pastel, repopularized in the late nineteenth century by Degas.

The thick pastel stick seems to have imposed a soft-focus romanticism on Watkins, in contrast to the sharper realism we associate with his watercolors.

Posted Friday, May 1st, 2009 under WR Watkins, auction, photography.


  1. Joanna Rand says:

    I believe this picture is of my mother. I am the granddaughter of WR Watkins. I have many nudes and watercolors in my home. My mothers name was Viola Watkins.

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