Published: February 1, 2011
Drawing, an integral part of Nineteenth Century academic training and art-making process, is the focus of the third collaboration in three years between the Dahesh Museum of Art and Syracuse University.
“The Essential Line: Drawings from the Dahesh Museum of Art,” a new exhibition at Palitz Gallery/Lubin House, February 9⁍arch 24, explores the medium of drawing in all its variety while showcasing the Dahesh’s collection. This exhibition has been organized with Syracuse’s graduate program in museum studies.
The rich selection highlights the nature of drawing in the Nineteenth Century. Among the 40 works to be on view are rare drawings by Lawrence Alma Tadema, Rosa Bonheur, Léon Bonnat, Alexandre Cabanel, Paul Delaroche, Gustav Doré, Jean Lecomte Du Nouÿ, Frederic Lord Leighton and Tommaso Minardi, as well as less familiar but talented draftsmen. This is the first time the Dahesh museum’s important drawing collection has been exhibited in depth.
Initial artistic training at the écoles and ateliers was exclusively drawing †some figural studies are preparatory for paintings; other preparatory studies are compositional studies. There are highly finished drawings that may even be standalone works of art.
Self-portraits are a genre that speaks both to the self-awareness of artists in this century and a subject matter with a long tradition. Subjects range from mythology to history to religion to genre. Some drawings indicate plein air activity.
“The Essential Line” explores how drawing was used in the teaching and training of the young artists as preparatory sketches for paintings or prints, or as a sketch album †as a form of visual note taking. Some drawings follow classical themes, some are humorous †caricatures or proto-cartoons †others are highly finished and existed as works of art in themselves.
“The Essential Line: Drawings from the Dahesh Museum of Art” at the Palitz Gallery, 11 East 61st Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenue, is free and open to the public. For information, www.daheshmuseum.org or 212-826-0320.
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