The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas

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"Rarely seen drawings and watercolors by some of the most influential French artists of the nineteenth century are the subject of this richly illustrated publication from The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum. From revealing preparatory sketches to exquisite finished watercolors, more than 100 works by artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Honore Daumier, Paul Cezanne, and Edgar Degas illuminate the range of French art over the course of a century of innovation. The BMA and the Walters have combined holdings of more than 900 French drawings from the nineteenth century, one of the nation's strongest and richest collections of French art from this period. The publication also includes works from the Peabody Institute Art Collection of the Maryland State Archives." "The Essence of Line offers the first comprehensive discussion of the formation of these collections and their significance for the history of French art. The catalogue includes essays by Jay McKean Fisher, William R. Johnston, and Cheryl K. Snay that provide insights into the artistic, commercial, and social functions that drawings served for their creators and collectors, as well as how collecting patterns influenced the development of modernism. Conservator Kimberly Schenck bridges the worlds of the collector and of the artist by examining the production and the use of drawing materials in an epoch of radical changes in technique as well as style." Published on the occasion of an exhibition jointly organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, this book presents a panorama of sketches, watercolors, and presentation drawings, many of them little known outside a small circle of experts. It is correlated with an online database of more than 900 nineteenth-century French drawings in the holdings of these Baltimore museums.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Very full and solid, this work will be a valuable contribution to nineteenth-century studies and an essential reference for art libraries.”
—Colta Ives, Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“With its beautiful illustrations, its handsome design and layout, and its scholarly approach, this catalog and the Web site that accompanies it exemplify the wonderful things museums can do when focusing on their own collections.”
—Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide

“This book catalogues and analyzes a rich ensemble of nineteenth-century French drawings, which raise important issues of collecting, connoisseurship, and taste.”
—Alan Chong, Curator, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271026824
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 10.26 (w) x 12.22 (h) x 1.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay M. Fisher is Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Baltimore Museum of Art.

William R. Johnston is Associate Director and Curator of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art at The Walters Art Museum.

Kimberly Schenck is Conservator at The Baltimore Museum of Art.

Cheryl K. Snay is Research Associate, Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at The Baltimore Museum of Art.

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Table of Contents

Mise en scene 1
A family collection : William and Henry Walters' French drawings 15
Albums of nineteenth-century drawings and watercolors at the Walters Art Museum 30
Collecting nineteenth-century French drawings in a twentieth-century museum 35
Crayon, paper, and paint : an examination of nineteenth-century drawing materials 57
Glossary 81
Entries 87
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