An exhibition of American drawings at the Chazen Museum of Art reflects a larger image of the nation

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An Investigation of American Drawings from the 18th Century to the Early 20th Century introduces the public to a range of artists, from anonymous practitioners to well-known practitioners, who have excelled in a variety of drawing media and subjects. Organized by the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Imagine a Nation: American Drawings and Watercolors traces colonial folk art from European-inspired academic styles to a distinctly modern American draftsman form. In pen and ink, graphite, watercolor, chalk and pastel, these artists composed incisive portraits, grandiose landscapes, historical narratives and scenes from everyday life. The exhibition is presented exclusively at the Chazen Museum of Art until November 28, 2021.

The Cellist (Portrait of Antonio Knauth, 1855 – 1915) by Arthur Burdett Frost (American, 1851 – 1928) ca. 1875. Watercolor and white gouache on beige wove paper. Gift of D. Frederick Baker from the Baker / Pisano Collection
Chazen Art Museum

Imagine a Nation: American Drawings and Watercolors is co-curated by Janine Yorimoto Boldt de Chazen, Associate Curator of American Art, and James R. Wehn, Curator of Van Vleck of Works on Paper. The majority of the drawings in the exhibition are taken from a series of exceptional gifts to the Chazen over the years from D. Frederick Baker and the Baker / Pisano collection and Mr. and Mrs. Stuart P. Feld.

“Thanks to the breadth of these wonderful collections by Fred Baker and the Felds, this exhibition is an opportunity to highlight both famous American artists and perspectives, as well as several self-taught artists, especially women. , who deserve to be better known for their creative contributions, ”said Yorimoto Boldt.

The exhibition includes notable works by Ruthy Batcheller, Mather Brown, George Catlin, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copley, John Steuart Curry, Lilian Westcott Hale, Eastman Johnson, Frances Jauncey Ketchum, Louisa Jauncey Ketchum, John Marin, William Sidney Mount, Titian Ramsey Peale, Eliza Quincy, John Trumbull, John Vanderlyn, Elihu Vedder and Benjamin West, among others.

Themes such as the colonial foundation of American drawing, the formation of the American school of artists who traveled to Europe, the development of the American Academy on the east coast of the United States, portraiture, landscape and women self-taught artists will be considered. through the extent of the drawings in the exhibition. Some locations depicted in the images include the Niagara River, Lake George, the Hudson River Valley, the White Mountains, the Lake Superior region of Wisconsin, and the Mississippi River.

Among the many highlights of the exhibition, the neoclassical by Benjamin West Rustic lovers warned of an approaching thunderstorm(1785), Botanical Study in Watercolor and Ink by Louisa Jauncey Ketchum Hepatic Noble Liverwort (circa 1819), the fascinating charcoal and chalk portrait of Miss Brinkley by Eastman Johnson (1855) and John Marin’s modern abstraction of the Brooklyn Bridge in graphite (circa 1913).


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