Drawn to Greatness highlights 150 exceptional drawings from the Eugene V. Thaw Collection. Assembled over the last fifty years, it is one of the world’s finest private collections of drawings. The exhibition focuses on pivotal moments in the history of the art form, featuring works that represent the pinnacle of each artist’s output.
A choice group of Rembrandt drawings shows the artist thinking through ideas for figural groupings or compositional details, while several pen-and-ink drawings by the eighteenth-century artist Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo poke fun at the vanities of contemporary society. Drawings by Jean-Antoine Watteau exemplify the artist’s novel use of three colors of chalk to achieve remarkable effects, while a century later Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres created magisterial portrait drawings in spare graphite lines. The rise of the watercolor is evident in works by English artists such as Joseph Mallord William Turner and William Blake in the early nineteenth century, and the variety of media and subject matter from the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist period is revealed in extraordinary works by Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne.
The exhibition concludes with large-scale drawings by twentieth-century figures such as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollock. This assembly of works not only tells the story of a visionary collector, but also informs the viewer about the shifting role of drawing’s technologies, functions, and markets across five centuries.