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July 22, 2022

Acquisition: Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt, "Untitled"

Richard Hunt
, 1974
colored crayon on paper
sheet: 75.9 x 107.7 cm (29 7/8 x 42 3/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of John B. Davidson

World-renowned American sculptor Richard Hunt (b. 1935) has received commissions for more than 150 public works since the late 1960s. Although best known for his welded metal sculptures, he is also a prolific draftsman with drawings that include site sketches conceptualizing a work in a particular environment, studies of forms and spatial relationships, fanciful abstract compositions, and robust, large-scale "finished" drawings. The Chicago collector John B. Davidson has recently donated two drawings by Hunt to the National Gallery of Art: a large, undated sheet of exploratory studies and a finished drawing from 1974. The first offers wonderful insights into the artist’s ruminations on abstracted forms unconnected to a specific sculpture, while the latter is the first major independent drawing by Hunt to enter the National Gallery’s collection.

Hunt’s sculptural sensibilities are evident in the sense of depth in this drawing. The imposing, abstract form—hovering between biomorphic and architectural/mechanical—appears suspended in space, emphasized by the cropping of the forms at the edges of the sheet. Hunt frequently combines natural and industrial elements in his work, exploring the universal tensions between the sense of freedom associated with the natural world and the restrictive rigors of man-made environments. His work challenges the viewer to contemplate these incongruities. The extension of the "figure" into the viewer’s space seen in the finished drawing also reflects Hunt’s fascination with the possibilities of interaction and engagement of the viewer in his sculpted work.

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