magic of the designer at Master Drawings New York | January 23-30


Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Italian 1727-1804), Owls on a Rocky Perch, c. 1770. Pen and gray ink and gray and brown wash over traces of black chalk. 267 x 196 mm.


Christopher Bishop Fine Art will be exhibiting as part of Master Drawings New York from January 23 to January 30, 2021, with a preview on January 22. Master Drawings New York is the premier event for the celebration and exhibition of Old Master through contemporary drawings in the United States. In 2021, eighteen dealers from the United States and Europe will exhibit online and in galleries along Madison Avenue, from East 63rd Street to East 86th Street.

At Christopher Bishop Fine Art, 1046 Madison Avenue at 80th Street, the exhibition The magic of the designer: images of the occult explores the boundaries between art, science and magic through nearly 20 large drawings from the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century. Many works are exhibited for the first time in New York. The exhibition will remain visible until February 12, 2021.

The exhibit examines pre-modern views of the occult, astrology, and alchemy which, while distinctly different from our own understanding of the world, gave birth to modern science and philosophy. Centered on witches, satyrs, angels and mermaids, the images depicted challenge our usual understanding of art. Highlights include compositions drawn from Roman mythology, the Bible, and Shakespeare’s plays, which have continuously inspired and challenged artists through the ages.

A drawing by Jacopo Ligozzi (Italian 1547-1627), The Apollo and Pan Competition, vs. 1590, presents a musical competition between two gods. An idealized depiction of Ligozzi’s Golden Age drawing was intended to bring not only prestige but power to his main patrons, the Medici family of Florence. Ligozzi shared a fascination with alchemy with his patron Francesco I de Medici (1541-1587) and this golden-toned design was created as a solar talisman to radiate Apollo’s influence throughout Florence. The drawing is on display to the public in New York for the first time.

A mysterious calm permeates an intriguing underwater scene as mermaids ring the bell for the dead king portrayed in Ariel’s song in Shakespeare Storm. The 1926 drawing by Arthur Rackham (British 1867-1939) is an exploration of the magical transformation associated with the phrase “change of the sea”, which was coined by Shakespeare in this play. “At full depth, five lies from your father… / Nothing about him that does not fade / But suffers a drastic change / Into something rich and strange.” “

A Shakespearean character different from Storm is represented by painter John Trumbull (British / American, 1756-1843), who was friends with many of America’s Founding Fathers and became famous for his historic paintings of the American Revolutionary War. His drawing of Prospero, 1784, focuses on this magician’s powers to control time. It is likely that the chosen topic reflects Trumbull’s interest in Benjamin Franklin’s early electrical experiments, which he uses more widely as a metaphor for burgeoning American ambition and optimism.

The magic of the designer also includes a drawing of a designer. The only surviving work given to artist Anna Hoffman (Swiss, born 1622-163) represents a scene that could be described as white magic. The Risen Christ reveals himself as a messiah to two surprised pilgrims during a dinner in Supper at Emmaus. The design is dated 1642 and inscribed on the reverse in a way that says a lot about how women artists were viewed at the time. The inscription in German simply indicates that the drawing was made “by the daughter of Hoffmann in Basel”. Anna Hoffman’s father was Samuel Hoffmann (1591-1648), an important Swiss painter trained in Rubens’ studio whose influence can be seen in this work. The rest of her work remains to be rediscovered as is the case with so many female artists also lost in history, making this unique example of her work all the more precious.

About Christopher Bishop Fine Art
Christopher Bishop Fine Art specializes in drawings from the 15th to the beginning of the 20th century. The gallery is located at 1046 Madison Avenue at East 80th Street. Known for its scientific approach to the evaluation, presentation and authentication of Old Masters works as well as a wide range of works on paper, the gallery seeks to present new ways of thinking and collecting works. old and modern masters on paper. The gallery participates in Master Drawings New York; The Salon du Dessin, Paris; and October Art Week, New York. More information is available at

About Master Drawings New York
Master Drawings New York (MDNY) was established in 2006 as the New York counterpart of Master Drawings London (now part of London Art Week) and began as an art event dedicated to drawings by Old Masters in the ‘Upper East Side of Manhattan. Scheduled for the last week of January, the event coincides with the big Old Masters auctions and scholarly events focused on drawings. It is a week devoted mainly to works on paper, with collectors, academics, museum curators and dealers listening to the programming of a wide range of institutional partners. Since its inception, MDNY has grown into one of the premier specialist arts events in the United States and has grown to include paintings and sculptures, spanning all time periods.

Saturday 23 January – Saturday 30 January 2021
Online opening: Friday January 22, 12 p.m.

Visiting hours of some galleries in New York:

  • Preview: Friday January 22, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Every day: 11 am – 6 pm; Sunday January 24 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Visit each exhibitor webpage for details

Online and in select Upper East Side galleries in New York City


About Author

Leave A Reply