An investigation of American drawings from the 18th century to the early 20th century will introduce the public to a range of artists, from anonymous practitioners to well-known practitioners, who have excelled in a variety of drawing mediums 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 form of drawing. 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 will be presented exclusively at the Chazen Museum of Art from August 31 to November 28, 2021.
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 views, as well as several self-taught artists, especially women. , who deserve to be better known for their creative contributions, âsaid 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 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).
âOne of our goals for the exhibition was to share with viewers how drawing embodied the colonialist value system and advanced as art in the United States and the impact on our more inclusive understanding of American drawing today. ‘hui,’ Wehn ââsaid.