Drawings: Recently Acquired by the Art Institute
A Sunlit Path through a Wood Thomas Gainsborough English, 1727-1788 1750/59
When paintings enter the collection of a major museum, they may, or may not, ever be seen again.
Display space is limited.
But works on paper can always be seen by members -- so every acquisition makes the museum experience a little bit better.
This selection of acquisitions made over the last 25 years is mostly focused on 19th C. French, English, and Belgian works. Many of them were purchased, rather than received as gifts, so they give some idea of the museum's priorities.
The museum already had 13 drawings by this artist -- did they really need one more?
But this one really is delightful.
I used to wander through the parks of Cincinnati looking for vistas to sketch - though my compositions were never as triumphant as this one. 19th Century American urban parks inherited their pastoral ideals from the kind of English estates on which Gainsborough made this sketch.
Here's the image that appears on the museum website -- much better than the one taken by my camera - and about as good as looking at the original.
Georges Lemmen, Belgian, 1865-1916 Portrait of Anna Boch, 1894
Love this pointillism.
Jean-Jacques Henner French, 1829-1905
Landscape with a Pond, c. 1879
This is a small (4" X 6") , but very effective rustic scene.
This artist was new to me -- and new to the A.I.C. collection as well.
This is a preparatory watercolor, used in the transfer of a painted image to a printed one.
The technique is astounding - and this detail is rather breezy and enjoyable.
With 28 other prints and drawings by this artist in the collection - I'm not sure I would have purchased this one.
Though it would make good cover art for a heavy metal band.
What a mug! The museum already had one of his many self portraits -- but this drawing is so good, I could not have resisted acquiring it either.
I like this drawing more than his many paintings that I have seen.
It's more whimsical and less ponderous.
Neither artist is exceptional - but they deliver a good sense of place.
This drawing is interesting because it was preparatory to a painting in the museum's collection.
This artist is new to me -- as well as to the museum.
Both his name and his style resembles a canonical artist - and by contrast, demonstrates why J.M.W. is so much better known.
It's the difference between charm and power.
Gallery signage tells us that Boucher drew this so that copies could be distributed to art teachers around the country.
It has an academic flavor, in contrast to the soft porn for which he is best known.
It's fascinating to see anything associated with the Art Institute's monumental "Paris Street, Rainy Day"(1877).
This self portrait was done two years later. Another recent acquisition was a preparatory study for that painting.
Corot found great success with nymphs dancing in the twilight, but he was also an exceptionally good all-around artist
And here's another one of his dancing nymphs - probably knocked off in about ten minutes.
Not a great drawing, but a good one - delivering a sense of divine visitation without the chiaroscuro of the original.
The original Caravaggio painting came to Chicago a few years ago.
A very talented young man - who made Queer Art a century before it became fashionable.
My friends love the realism of this scene - but I dislike this drawing as much as I dislike having to sleep on trains or buses.