Refined palette

SAL record control number: 120284 ;

Record level: Listing ;

Record type: Exhibitions ;

Exhibition type: Permanent art collection ;


Title: Refined palette ; 

Begin Date: April 15, 2022
End Date: December 31, 2022  [EXTENDED BY POPULAR DEMAND!]

Exhibition hours:
Monday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Tuesday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Wednesday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Thursday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Friday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Saturday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST
Sunday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST

Location: Salmagundi townhouse, Wiggin’s bar & grille ;

Admission: This event is FREE and open to the public


Beginning April 15 and ending December 31, 2022, Salmagundi presents Refined palette, a display of 77 American artist oil painting palettes in the Wiggins Bar Gallery.  The palettes are part of the Salmagundi’s permanent collection, the largest group of American artist palettes in the world.  Most institutions in America collected only European artist palettes, believing American artists ones to be of lesser value.  Thankfully, National Academy of Design secretary, artist and Salmagundian, Henry “Harry” Willson Watrous (1857-1940) [RA 1900-1940] began collecting fellow artist palettes from about 1896 to 1917.  Watrous offered the palettes to the National Academy of Design, only to be rejected by the organization.  It 1917 Salmagundi purchased the current townhouse which the club is located in today and accepted the donation of approximately 120 palettes from Watrous.  The collection grew over time and expanded to about 150.  It includes some of America’s most iconic painters palettes including: Henry “Harry” Willson Watrous (1857-1940) [RA 1900-1940], Alfred Cornelius Howland (1838-1909) [RA 1880-1909], George Randolph Barse Jr (1861-1938) [RA 1899-1938], Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919) [H NRA 1915-1919] and Walter Florian (1878-1909) [RA 1906-1909] to name just a few.

Palettes range in size and style, largely displaying demonstration palettes, smaller dark wooden oval plates which were used to show how the artist would lay out their paint daubs, how they arranged their colors, what colors they used and how much of each.  Some artists would go a step further showing secondary and other levels of mixing which they allowed to permanently harden to the surface.  There are also rectangular palettes displayed and larger studio palettes.  Some palettes have immense amounts of dried oil paint mounds pointing out the various ways styles of painting have changed through the various eras.  A few choice palettes even have original paintings by the artists on them.

Learn more about Salmagundi’s palettes in a scholarly and important publication by Alexander W Katlan:



Participating artists:

Related documents:

Document information

Document permalink:

Digital-born document number:

Record birth date:
March 29, 2022

Last updated: January 2, 2023 at 12:25 pm