Fine Lines: American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum presents a selection of more than a hundred rarely seen drawings and sketchbooks produced between 1768 and 1945 from the Brooklyn Museum’s exceptional collection. The exhibition will feature the work of more than seventy artists, including John Singleton Copley, Stuart Davis, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Eastman Johnson, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, and Benjamin West.
Among the works on display will be Gaston Lachaise’s Back of a Nude Woman (1929), Winslow Homer’s Two Girls in Field (1871), and William Merritt Chase’s Shinnecock Hills (circa 1895). Investigating the place of drawing within the broader history of American art before 1945, Fine Lines showcases a variety of subjects, styles, and practices and demonstrates the variety and vitality of the graphic arts in America across nearly two centuries.
The exhibition provides insights into why artists draw through a range of works: carefully transcribed anatomical, portrait, and nature studies; preparatory drawings; quick sketches capturing an artist’s impressions; and highly finished compositions made for display or reproduction. Organized into six thematic categories, Fine Lines draws comparisons among artists of diverse periods and artistic approaches. The exhibition includes one section on portraiture and two sections on the human figure: one focusing on the nude, and the other examining the clothed figure. A section considers narrative subjects and how artists craft a story through the integration of figures, objects, and setting. Natural and urban environments are the focus of two landscape sections. An additional conservation section investigates the distinctive properties of a variety of graphic materials and techniques.
Fine Lines: American Drawings from the Brooklyn Museum is organized by Karen A. Sherry, formerly Associate Curator of American Art, Brooklyn Museum. It is accompanied by a catalogue, published by the London-based firm D Giles Ltd. in association with the Brooklyn Museum, that is the first major publication on the Museum’s holdings of pre-1945 American drawings. The hardcover retails for $59.95; the softcover, exclusively available at the Museum, retails for $42.00.
Generous support for this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue was provided by Leonard and Ellen Milberg. Additional funding for the exhibition was provided by the Robert E. Blum Fund. The catalogue was also supported by Linda E. Scher; Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund; and a Brooklyn Museum publications endowment established by the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The exhibit will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from March 8, 2013, through May 26, 2013.
Image: J. Carroll Beckwith (American, 1852-1917) Portrait of Minnie Clark, circa 1890s Charcoal and pastel on blue fibered laid paper 22 3/8 x 18 1/4 in. (56.8 x 46.4 cm) Brooklyn Museum, Gift of J. Carroll Beckwith, 17.127 Elizabeth Welsh (American).