The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas

Overview

Many patrons of the arts in nineteenth-century America built collections of paintings and sculpture imported primarily from England or Italy. Collectors in Baltimore—William Walters, George Lucas, the famous Cone sisters, among others—stand out in this milieu for having developed a strikingly different aesthetic for their homes and newly founded public institutions. These collectors looked to France for models of culture and, acting upon a remarkable understanding of the educational needs and working methods of ...

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Overview

Many patrons of the arts in nineteenth-century America built collections of paintings and sculpture imported primarily from England or Italy. Collectors in Baltimore—William Walters, George Lucas, the famous Cone sisters, among others—stand out in this milieu for having developed a strikingly different aesthetic for their homes and newly founded public institutions. These collectors looked to France for models of culture and, acting upon a remarkable understanding of the educational needs and working methods of artists, assembled extensive collections of drawings by French masters, from David to Daumier, Degas, and Cézanne.

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 book begins with essays by Jay M. Fisher, William R. Johnston, and Cheryl K. Snay that trace the history of collecting in Baltimore and afford new insights into the acquisition, display, and interpretation of drawings. In her essay, 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 as much in technique as style. This book also provides a fully illustrated, scholarly catalogue for one hundred of the most important of the nineteenth-century French drawings now held by The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum, and the Peabody Art Collection.

Published on the occasion of an exhibition jointly organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and The Walters Art Museum, this book presents a brilliant panorama of sketches, watercolors, and presentation drawings, many of them little known outside a small circle of experts. It is correlated with an online archive of the entire corpus of nineteenth-century French drawings in the holdings of these Baltimore museums.

This volume has been published in conjunction with the exhibition The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas, organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walter Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, and held at:

The Baltimore Museum of Art, 19 June–11 September 2005

The Walters Art Museum 19 June–4 September 2005

Birmingham Museum of Art, 19 February–14 May 2006

Tacoma Art Museum, 9 June–17 September 2006.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271026923
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 9.98 (w) x 11.98 (h) x 1.43 (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

Foreword
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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