Over the past three years the National Gallery of Art, through generous donations and select purchases, has acquired a remarkable survey of drawings, prints, and rare illustrated books. This exhibition presents over 200 of the finest, dating from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first century.
The drawings begin with Albrecht Dürer's exquisite gouache, heightened with gold, A Pastoral Landscape with Shepherds Playing a Viola and Panpipes, 1496/1497. Other highlights include one of the earliest French drawings on paper, Jean Poyet's watercolor The Coronation of Solomon by the Spring at Gihon, c. 1500; Renaissance drawings by Fra Bartolommeo, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and other masters; one of J.M.W. Turner's greatest late watercolors, Oberwesel, 1840; a series of masterworks in pastel by Edgar Degas, Lovis Corinth, and William Merritt Chase; Russian constructivist collages; a selection from an extraordinary gift of John Marin watercolors and prints; and drawings by Philip Guston, Franz Kline, Robert Morris, and Ed Ruscha.
The prints and illustrated books begin in the Gothic period with one of the earliest European engravings, by the Master of Saint John the Baptist, created in the 1440s; one of the earliest European books with printed illustrations, the block book Biblia Pauperum, 1460s; and the first image printed in multiple colors, in a book published by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice in 1485. Also featured are a fine group of Italian and French Renaissance prints; a rich impression of Jean Morin's famous but rarely seen Still Life with a Skull and a Vase of Roses, 1645/1650; and Rembrandt's etching Abraham Entertaining the Angels, printed on Japanese paper in 1656.
A range of impressionist and post-impressionist prints are presented, beginning with Jacques Villon's intriguing variations on his elegant and beautiful La Parisienne, 1902/1903. Other highlights are Picasso's and Matisse's greatest cubist prints, an outstanding group of German expressionist and Bauhaus prints and drawings, selections from a unique complex of artist's working proofs by Jasper Johns, notable prints of the 1990s by Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois, as well as very recent works by Martin Puryear and Chuck Close.
Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Sponsor: The exhibition is supported in part by a generous grant from the Thaw Charitable Trust
Schedule: National Gallery of Art, Washington, May 4–November 2, 2008
Passes: Passes are not required for this exhibition.
The exhibition is on view in the West Building, Ground Floor, Outer tier