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Sense of Humor

July 15, 2018 – February 3, 2019
West Building, Ground Floor, Outer Tier Galleries

James Gillray, Midas, Transmuting All into Paper, 1797, etching with hand-coloring in watercolor on laid paper, Wright and Evans 1851, no. 168, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Purchased as an Anonymous Gift

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Humor may be fundamental to human experience, but its expression in painting and sculpture has been limited. Instead, prints, as the most widely distributed medium, and drawings, as the most private, have been the natural vehicles for comic content. Drawn from the National Gallery of Art’s collection, Sense of Humor celebrates this incredibly rich though easily overlooked tradition through works including Renaissance caricatures, biting English satires, and 20th-century comics. The exhibition includes major works by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Jacques Callot, William Hogarth, James Gillray, Francisco de Goya, and Honoré Daumier, as well as later examples by Alexander Calder, Red Grooms, Saul SteinbergArt Spiegelman, and the Guerrilla Girls.

The exhibition is curated by Jonathan Bober, Andrew W. Mellon senior curator of prints and drawings; Judith Brodie, curator and head of the department of American and modern prints and drawings; and Stacey Sell, associate curator, department of old master drawings, all National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required

Attendance: 118,050

Bruegel the Elder, Pieter
Netherlandish, 1525 - 1569
Calder, Alexander
American, 1898 - 1976
Callot, Jacques
French, 1592 - 1635
Daumier, Honoré
French, 1808 - 1879
Gillray, James
British, 1757 - 1815
Goya, Francisco
Spanish, 1746 - 1828
Grooms, Red
American, 1937 -
Guerrilla Girls
1985 -
Hogarth, William
British, 1697 - 1764
Spiegelman, Art
American, 1948 -
Steinberg, Saul
American, 1914 - 1999
Preview: Sense of Humor
Video, Released: July 24, 2018, (00:15 minutes)
Press Event: Sense of Humor
Audio, Released: July 10, 2018, (52:45 minutes)
John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art 2018, Part 9: Reshaping the Conversation
Video, Released: April 17, 2018, (25:02 minutes)
John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art 2018, Part 9: Reshaping the Conversation
Audio, Released: April 17, 2018, (24:15 minutes)