Two new acquisitions of drawings by Jasper Johns and Ellsworth Kelly join other recent acquisitions and key historical works from MoMA’s collection in the exhibition “Pencil: Drawings from the Collection,” on view at MoMA QNS through March 8.
“Wild Grape,” 1960, by Kelly and “Nothing at All Richard Dadd,” 1992, by Johns are shown alongside 26 highlights from the hundreds of pencil drawings in MoMA’s collection. In addition to the works by Johns and Kelly, other recently acquired contemporary drawings by Jim Nutt, Chris Ofili and Gerhard Richter are shown, as are historic works by such artists as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Gustav Klimt, Paul Cézanne, Joseph Beuys and Claes Oldenburg.
One such drawing is “Anna Peter,” 1926-27, a portrait by George Grosz that was acquired in 1929 – one of the first works to enter the museum’s collection. This exhibition examines the tradition of pencil drawing through a full range of styles and subjects – figuration and abstraction, portraiture and landscape, and naturalism and cartoonlike renderings. The capability of pencil to achieve a range of effects from fine to muscular line, stippled point to expansive field, and outline to shaded plane is also explored.
The exhibition is organized by Gary Garrels, chief curator, department of drawings, and curator, department of painting and sculpture. “Pencil is the simplest and most basic of materials for art, yet artists achieved some of their most evocative and haunting, beautiful and powerful works using only pencil. The achievements of artists over the last 100 years are immediate and fresh through this most modest of mediums,” stated Garrels.
MoMA QNS is at 33 Street at Queens Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens. For information, 212-708-9400 or www.moma.org.