The Drawn Image

July 11–August 25, 1990

Since the Renaissance, drawing in the West has held a significant place in the creative process.

Drawing’s earliest iteration was as an ancillary aid to painting, sculpture, and architecture. During the 19th century, drawing, and the related category of watercolor, gained independence and esteem as a worthy technique in its own right, most notably in the genres of portraiture and landscape. In the 20th century, the drawing was embraced and enlivened by artists as both a continued facet of their overall working process and independent artworks, integral to their oeuvres.

Drawing can constitute the preparatory study of other projects, for example, in the sheet by the Spanish sculptor Julio Gonzales, or the drawing may serve to free the eye and hand in spontaneous sketches, which became useful as references for future projects, such as in the quickly executed folio by the Swiss painter, sculptor, and draftsman, Alberto Giacometti. The highly finished work, self-sufficient and complete in its conception and execution is expertly exemplified in the composition by the German social critic, George Grosz.

Assembled from the permanent collection of the Smart Museum, this sampling of modern European and Mexican drawings demonstrates the range of technical facility, personal application, and above all, a sense of immediacy that are the endearing hallmarks of the drawn image.

Curator: Stephanie D’Alessandro, a graduate student intern.