Exhibition | Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 24, 2014

From the DMA’s exhibition press release (26 June 2014). . .

Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne
Dallas Museum of Art, 29 June — 26 October 2014

Curated by Olivier Meslay and William Jordan


Hubert Robert, View of the Gardens at the Villa Mattei, 14 x 21 inches (34.93 x 52.39 cm), red chalk on paper, 1761 (Dallas Museum of Art, fractional gift of Charlene and Tom Marsh, 2006.17). The drawing sold in Paris at Christies (Lot 512, Sale 5075) in December 2003 for €17,625.

From quick sketches to watercolors and finished masterpieces, works by artists such as Eugène Delacroix, Jacques-Louis David, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Egon Schiele, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso are brought together in Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne. Organized by the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibition features more than 120 works on paper—many of which have never been exhibited publicly—by 70 artists. Drawn in part from the DMA’s collection, but with significant loans from private collections in North Texas, Mind’s Eye, offers insights into the working methods of these artists, providing an intimate view of their approach to art making while also presenting the drawings and watercolors as finished works of art in their own right.

“One of the goals of the Dallas Museum of Art is to encourage collecting within the community. There is no better example of how to do this than to highlight the Museum’s graphic holdings together with those that have been assembled in private homes throughout our area,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA. “Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne presents a rich and fascinating array of works in various media by artists from the Austro-Hungarian, Belgian, British, Dutch, French, German, Spanish and Swiss schools, spanning nearly 150 years—from the French Revolution to the dawn of modernism.”

The collecting and appreciation of drawings were for centuries activities associated with the privileged, the educated, or artists themselves, and the skills derived from these actions ultimately formed the basis of modern art history. Through museums, a wider audience has come to enjoy and value these most intimate of artists’ expressions. Collecting in this area has gone on throughout the DMA’s 111-year history, yet Mind’s Eye is the first exhibition to consider what has been achieved, while also serving as a tribute to the generations of collectors who have brought these drawings to Texas.

The works on view in Mind’s Eye focus on European art from the French Revolution in the late 18th century to the birth of modernism in the early 20th century. The Museum’s European works on paper collection, which has a strong holding of French art from the 19th and early 20th centuries, with an emphasis on impressionist and post-impressionist works, is complemented by loans from private collections that broaden the scope of the exhibition. Because of the different kinds of works on view, the varied roles that drawing plays for artists—as a learning exercise, as a form of note taking, as a tool for planning and development of larger works, and as an end in itself—are showcased, and the artistic process of the various artists revealed.

Mind’s Eye is about the pleasures of collecting, but it is also about the rich history and diversity found in drawings created by artists throughout art history,” said Olivier Meslay, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. “The exhibition highlights many recognizable names along with lesser-known artists, examining overlooked works and reexamining those produced by famous artists to reveal the full effect of their contributions from a fresh, modern perspective.” Meslay is co-curator of the exhibition with Dr. William B. Jordan, formerly Director of the Meadows Museum and Deputy Director of the Kimbell Art Museum. Both are lifelong students of drawings. “This works on paper exhibition brings to light a part of the collection that is not often highlighted, despite its quality,” added Jordan.

In the exhibition, visitors will be able to learn about the care and conservation of works on paper, and how to properly frame a drawing through a video demonstration, as well as view a display of various materials represented in the works on view with examples of the different kinds of lines produced by these tools. The educational displays were created by DMA Chief Conservator Mark Leonard. In the late summer, visitors will be able to explore the exhibition with a smartphone tour featuring commentary by the exhibition co-curators, Olivier Meslay and William B. Jordan. DMA Friends will be able to earn the Mind’s Eye Special Exhibition Badge while the show is on view. For more information on the DMA Friends program, visit DMA.org/friends.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 240-page full-color publication, edited by Olivier Meslay and William B. Jordan, with contributions by Esther Bell, Richard R. Brettell, Alessandra Comini, Dakin Hart, William B. Jordan, Felix Krämer, Laurence Lhinares, Heather MacDonald, Olivier Meslay, Jed Morse, Steven Nash, Sylvie Patry, Louis-Antoine Prat, Richard Rand, George T. M. Shackelford, Richard Shiff, Kevin W. Tucker and Charles Wylie. The catalogue is distributed by Yale University Press.

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Distributed by Yale UP:

Olivier Meslay and William B. Jordan, eds., Mind’s Eye: Masterworks on Paper from David to Cézanne (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2014), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0300207217, $60.

9780300207217An overview of European art from the French Revolution to the First World War, Mind’s Eye encompasses 116 works on paper in various media by seventy artists. These works range from quick sketches and working drawings to cartoons for large murals and highly finished masterpieces. Among the featured artists are such recognizable names as Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Jacques-Louis David, Edgar Degas, Eugène Delacroix, Théodore Géricault, Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Georges Seurat. Also included are never-before-published works by accomplished yet lesser-known artists, such as Albert Anker, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl, Fernand Khnopff, František Kupka, and Simeon Solomon. Noted international specialists in the field address the working methods of these artists and the aesthetic beauty of their drawings and watercolors, and offer focused studies on artists, regions, schools, and themes. By simultaneously drawing attention to overlooked works and reexamining those produced by famous artists, this catalogue examines the overall effect of their cumulative contributions from a fresh, modern perspective.

Olivier Meslay is associate director of curatorial affairs at the Dallas Museum of Art, and William B. Jordan is an art historian and a trustee at the Dallas Museum of Art.

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