Monday, September 19, 2016

Drawings: Recently Acquired by the Art Institute


A Sunlit Path through a Wood  Thomas Gainsborough English, 1727-1788  1750/59

When paintings enter the collection of a major museum, they may, or may not, ever be seen again.

Display space is limited.

But works on paper can always be seen by members -- so every acquisition makes the museum experience a little bit better.

This selection of acquisitions made over the last 25 years is mostly focused on 19th C. French, English, and Belgian works.  Many of them were purchased, rather than received as gifts, so they give some idea of the museum's priorities.

The museum already had 13 drawings by this artist -- did they really need one more?

But this one really is delightful.

I used to wander through the parks of Cincinnati looking for vistas to sketch - though my compositions were never as triumphant as this one.  19th Century American urban parks inherited their pastoral ideals from the kind of English estates on which Gainsborough made this sketch.

Here's the image that appears on the museum website -- much better than the one taken by my camera - and about as good as looking at the original.

Georges Lemmen,  Belgian, 1865-1916 Portrait of Anna Boch, 1894

Love this pointillism.

                               Jean-Jacques Henner French, 1829-1905
Landscape with a Pond, c. 1879

This is a small (4" X 6") , but  very effective rustic scene.
This artist was new to me -- and new to the A.I.C. collection as well.

John Douglas Miller, 1889,  after Bouguereau's first whisper of love


This is a preparatory watercolor, used in the transfer of a painted image to a printed one.
The technique is astounding - and  this detail is rather breezy and enjoyable.

Kathe Kollwitz 1905 sharpening the scythe

With 28 other prints and drawings by this artist in the collection  - I'm not sure I would have purchased this one.

Though it would make good cover art for a heavy metal band.

Ludwig Meidner, self-portrait 1922


What a mug!  The museum already had one of his many self portraits -- but this drawing is so good, I could not have resisted acquiring it either.

Jean François Millet
 French, 1814-1875
Landscape - Hillside in Gruchy, Normandy, 1869/70

I like this drawing more than his many paintings that I have seen.
  It's more whimsical and less ponderous.

Peter de Wint – in Wales between Bangor and Capel Curig 1830-s


Reminds me of the watercolors that the Prince of Wales did for the covers of the Leonard Bernstein Sony recordings about 25 years ago.

Neither artist is exceptional - but they deliver a good sense of place.


Camille Pissarro, Young Peasant Drinking Her Cafe au Lait, 1879-80

This drawing is interesting because it was preparatory  to a painting in the museum's collection.

William Turner of Oxford, 1842

This artist is new to me -- as well as to the museum.

Both his name and his style resembles a canonical artist - and by contrast, demonstrates why J.M.W. is so much better known.

It's the difference between charm and power.

François Boucher  French, 1703-1770  Academic Study of a Reclining Male Nude, c. 1750

Gallery signage tells us that Boucher drew this so that copies could be distributed to art teachers around the country.

It has an academic flavor, in contrast to the soft porn for which he is best known.

Gustave Caillebotte French, 1848-1894  Self-Portrait with a Hat, c. 1879

It's fascinating to see anything associated with the Art Institute's  monumental "Paris Street, Rainy Day"(1877).

This self portrait was done two years later.  Another recent acquisition was a preparatory study for that painting.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot French, 1796-1875
Standing Male Nude, 1843

Corot found great success with  nymphs dancing in the twilight, but he was also an exceptionally good all-around artist

Corot French, 1796-1875 Venus Disarming Cupid, 1852/57

And here's another one of his dancing nymphs - probably knocked off in about ten minutes.

Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732-1806) after  Caravaggio The Supper at Emmaus, 1760/61

Not a great drawing, but a good one - delivering a sense of divine visitation without the chiaroscuro of the original.

The  original Caravaggio painting came to Chicago a few years ago.

Cocteau , 1924 – nightmare

A  very talented young man - who made Queer Art a century before it became fashionable.

Adolph Menzel 1815–1905 In a Railway Carriage (After a Night's Journey),

My friends love the realism of this scene -  but I dislike this drawing as much as I dislike having to sleep on trains or buses.


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