Exhibition | Drawn to Greatness

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 8, 2018
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Scene of Contemporary Life: The Picture Show, 1791; pen and brown and black ink and wash over black chalk on paper,  11 5/16 × 16 5/16 inches (New York: Morgan Library & Museum, 2017.253)

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Press release (15 December 2017) for the exhibition now on view at The Clark:

Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 29 September 2017 — 7 January 2018
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, 3 February — 22 April 2018

Curated by Jennifer Tonkovich and Jay Clarke

Over the past fifty years, New York art dealer and philanthropist Eugene V. Thaw assembled one of the world’s finest private collections of drawings. The collection, known for its breadth and exceptional quality, charts the high points of drawing from the Renaissance through the twentieth century and features works made by pivotal artists at key moments in the history of the art form. Mr. Thaw donated his collection of more than 400 drawings to the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, which celebrated the gift with the September 2017 opening of Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection, an exhibition that has drawn critical acclaim for the diversity and quality of the works presented. In recognition of Mr. Thaw’s longstanding interest in the Clark Art Institute, Drawn to Greatness will travel to Williamstown for an exclusive presentation at the Clark from February 3 through April 22, 2018. Featuring 150 drawings that tell the story of a visionary collector, the exhibition examines five centuries of western drawing. Sketchbooks belonging to Jackson Pollock, Francisco de Goya, Edgar Degas, and Paul Cézanne and illustrated letters from Vincent van Gogh are among the works exhibited.

“It is an honor for the Clark to have the opportunity to show this exquisite collection in our galleries,” said Olivier Meslay, the Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark. “The works in this exhibition provide an incredibly rich and remarkable opportunity to consider the art form as practiced by generations of masters. It is one of the most important and impressive drawing exhibitions that has been assembled in decades.”

The exhibition is organized in a series of chronological sections that illustrate key moments in the history of draftsmanship while also highlighting the work of artists whom the Thaws collected in depth, among them Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya, Odilon Redon, and Edgar Degas.

“These exceptional drawings, watercolors, and collages exemplify both the eternal power of the drawn line and the innovative genius of the artists who have explored the medium over five centuries,” said Jay A Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. “It is a truly spectacular collection of works and I am thrilled to be able to work in collaboration with the Morgan’s curatorial team to bring this show to the Clark.”

The exhibition extends the Institute’s relationship to Mr. Thaw who, in 2016, made a generous gift to create the Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper in the Clark’s Manton Research Center. Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. The curator of the exhibition at the Morgan is Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings and Prints; the curator at the Clark is Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. Presentation of Drawn to Greatness at the Clark is made possible by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust. Major support is provided by the Fernleigh Foundation in memory of Clare Thaw. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

An exhibition checklist is available here»

Jennifer Tonkovich, ed., Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection (New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, 2017), 295 pages, ISBN: 978-0875981826, $40.

The catalogue features a series of essays by leading scholars devoted to pivotal moments in the history of drawing. Authors include Jane Shoaf Turner, Head of Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam; Andrew Robison, former Head of Drawings, Prints, and Photographs at the National Gallery of Art; Matthew Hargraves, Chief Curator of Art Collections, Yale Center for British Art; Richard R. Brettell, Chair of Art and Aesthetic Studies, University of Texas at Dallas; Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Clark Art Institute; and, of the Morgan Library & Museum, Colin B. Bailey, Director; John Marciari, Curator and Department Head of Drawings and Prints; and Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator.


A selection of programming:

Jennifer Tonkovich | French Artists and Their Models
Sunday, 11 February 2018, 3:00pm

Jennifer Tonkovich, Eugene and Clare Thaw Curator of Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum, explores how French artists worked with models during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Where did they find their models? What role did the models play in the creative process? How does an individual artist’s approach to the model reveal their broader outlook? A close look at studies by Watteau, Fragonard, Prud’hon, Gericault, Ingres, and Delacroix illuminates the challenges inherent in working from the model.

Matthew Hargraves | Visionaries: Romantic Drawings from the Thaw Collection
Sunday, 15 April 2018, 3:00pm

Drawn to Greatness includes some of Eugene Thaw’s finest Romantic drawings, among them outstanding works of art by William Blake, Caspar David Friedrich, and J.M.W. Turner. This lecture by Matthew Hargraves, chief curator of art collections and head of college information and access at the Yale Center for British Art, focuses on the visionary qualities of these Romantic artists and explores how they abandoned the simple imitation of the natural world to capture truths beyond the reach of the human eye.




Lectures at The Clark, Spring 2018

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on February 8, 2018

A selection of lectures this spring at The Clark in Williamstown, MA (in addition to those associated with the exhibition Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection). . .

Lauren Cannady | Rococo Thought Patterns
13 February 2018, 5:30pm

If eighteenth-century curiosity cabinets were repositories for the dead and ossified, the garden was a parallel cabinet that provided a space for the viable, for living curiosities. Given that the organizing principle of the garden parterre was applied not only to plants, but equally to naturalia in the cabinet, this lecture will map the ways in which pattern and design within these different spaces served as one model in early modern empirical thinking and knowledge transmission.

Lauren R. Cannady is assistant director of the Research and Academic Program and Manton Research Fellow at the Clark Art Institute. She was previously a fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, and the Columbia University/NYU Consortium for Intellectual and Cultural History. She has published on eighteenth-century aesthetic philosophy and systems of the decorative and is preparing a book manuscript titled Natural Seduction: Thinking through the Early Modern French Garden. Her second project considers artisanal practice, collaboration, and exploitation in the global eighteenth century.

Nina Dubin | Master of the World
17 April 2018, 5:30pm

In the wake of the world’s first international financial crisis, Cupid claimed pride of place in French eighteenth-century art. The naked, winged infant deity personified not only the folly of love, but also the forces of inconstancy, mutability, and flightiness that were viewed as hallmarks of a modernizing credit economy.

Nina Dubin is associate professor of art history at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of Futures & Ruins: Eighteenth-Century Paris and the Art of Hubert Robert (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2010; 2012). Her work has been supported by institutions including the Getty Research Institute and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, where she was a Samuel H. Kress Senior Fellow from 2013 to 2014. A specialist in European art since 1700, she is currently writing a book on love letter pictures in eighteenth-century France.

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