Highlighting more than 100 masterworks by some of the most important names in American art from the late eighteenth through the mid-twentieth century, this volume features a wide range of drawings in graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, crayon, and pastel. Among the more than 70 artists included are John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, Eastman Johnson, William Trost Richards, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Marsden Hartley.
Author Karen A. Sherry situates the Museum’s collection within the broader history of the graphic arts in America, in which drawing has functioned as a tool in artistic training, as preparation for work in other formats, as a record of personal impressions of a motif, as a spontaneous expression of a creative impulse, and as an autonomous form of art. The drawings are arranged in six thematic sections devoted to subjects of enduring interest among artists working in diverse periods and styles: the human figure, costume studies, portraiture, narrative scenes, landscapes, and the built environment. Each section opens with a brief historical overview, followed by an interpretive entry and colour plate for each drawing.
An essay by Caitlin Jenkins focuses on how the work of the conservator enhances our understanding of objects through forensic analysis. She identifies the distinctive physical characteristics of different papers and media and explores how the historical availability of materials and the use of particular techniques affect a drawing’s appearance. This essay is accompanied by conservation illustrations—including magnified details and infrared and ultraviolet-induced photographs of selected catalogue objects— as well as a glossary of terms defining drawing materials and
conservation research techniques.
Fine Lines is both a major new scholarly resource and a beautifully illustrated reassessment of the vitality of drawing in the history of American art.