As one of the leading realist artists working in the United States, William Beckman is celebrated for the intimacy and emotional power of his figurative drawings. In the first major retrospective of his works on paper, the Columbus Museum explores Beckman’s primary subject matter: the individual. Nearly fifty portraits reveal captivating expressions of self-possession, rebellion and vulnerability.
Drawing inspiration from northern European painting, the writings of Russian author Nikolai Gogol and the farm on which he grew up in western Minnesota, Beckman’s work examines human relationships – the quiet of solitude, the intimacy of marriage and the complexity of gender issues. Often working in series and experimenting with scale, William Beckman’s process is at the fore, producing compelling images that engage the viewer directly.
Featuring 50 colour plates of Beckman’s work from the full span of his career and archival photos from his childhood and college days, William Beckman: Drawings, 1967–2013 includes an interview with the artist as well as an exploratory essay by noted author and scholar Carter Ratcliff.
Charles T. Butler Charles T. Butler is director emeritus of the Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia
Carter Ratcliff is an art critic, writer and poet, and author of Pop Américains (2013) and Andy Warhol: Portraits (2007)