In celebration of the opening of the Johnson’s new wing, this exhibition presents some of the finest drawings acquired by the Museum over the past two decades. Ranging from the sixteenth century to the present day, the exhibition includes works by such masters as Giovanni Battista Grimaldi, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Gustav Klimt, Willem de Kooning, and Jim Dine. It also features works by contemporary artists who use traditional drawing techniques to make a new statement, like Kehinde Wiley and Peggy Preheim, and those who continue to broaden the definition of drawing through the use of new media and a claim on three-dimensional space, such as Dylan Graham, Diana Cooper, Mark Fox, and Russell Crotty.
Some works shown here introduce us to Old Master techniques, like the red chalk portrait by Louis Rolland Trinquesse and its counterproof, or the ethereal subtlety of silverpoint, seen in drawings by Alphonse Legros and Victor Koulbak. The variety of purposes and goals for drawings is also in evidence, from academic studies like the figure of a boatman by Corrado Giaquinto, to interpretations of Dante’s Divine Comedy by Felice Giani and Leonard Baskin, to Charles Émile Jacque’s barn interior, a city boy’s meditation on rural life. The nineteenth-century tradition of plein air watercolor landscapes is represented in beautiful sheets by Edward Lear and Henri Harpignies, but is also referenced by works like Tim Gardner’s 2006 watercolor inspired by a photograph. Still other works in this exhibition remind us that drawing as a process can be achieved in the absence of pencil, pen, or brush through the collaging of cut paper, as shown by Georges Valmier and Kurt Schwitters, or by composing found objects on a wall, as Donald Lipski does.
All of us at the Museum wish to thank the many alumni and friends whose contributions have helped to build such a varied and vibrant group of drawings for the education and enjoyment of the Cornell and greater Ithaca communities.
The Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Andrew C. Weislogel
Associate Curator/Master Teacher