September 18, 2008
DALLAS (SMU) – The Meadows Museum presents From Manet to Miró: Modern Drawings from the Abelló Collection, an exhibit of works by 45 of the most important artists of the past two centuries, from September 14 through December 2, 2008.
The drawings, by such artists as Manet, Degas, Dalí and Miró, are from the private collection of Juan Abelló and his wife, Anna Gamazo, of Madrid, who were recently named among the world's 200 top art collectors by ArtNews. The exhibit marks the first time their collection has been shown in the United States, and the Meadows Museum is its only U.S. venue.
For centuries, drawing's status was limited; it was seen simply as a medium for an artist's preparatory work. Sketches from life provided sources of inspiration for later artistic interpretation, and compositional studies were used to determine the overall arrangement of a work. Both served as scaffolding that could later be "dismantled" or hidden.
With the birth of modern art and its reaction against academic traditions, within which drawing was of utmost importance, the preparatory function of the graphic arts did not disappear; artists continued to draw in order to record or outline their ideas before executing them in another medium, such as painting or sculpture. Simultaneously, drawing began to slowly earn respect as an independent artistic medium. The appreciation of drawing as an art form in itself fueled the development of a wide range of techniques and styles.
The 64 master drawings featured in From Manet to Miró provide a complete survey of modern and contemporary art over 200 years, from a small but dazzling 1805 crayon drawing by Francisco de Goya of his wife, Josefa Bayeu, to a 1987 work by Miquel Barceló. The exhibit is organized by defining artistic movements, including Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop and Contemporary Art.
The Impressionists are well represented, with drawings by Manet, Degas (among them the splendid, colorful pastel Woman Drying Herself or After the Bath), Pissarro, Cassatt and Renoir. Although the pioneers of this movement left tradition behind with their broken brushstrokes, depictions of everyday life and careful rendering of light with paint, most had still undertaken rigorous academic training and were excellent draughtsmen.
Also featured are many of the great pioneers of 20th-century art, including Gauguin, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Klimt, Schiele, Matisse and Van Dongen. A testament to versatility, Van Gogh's pencil and black chalk drawing titled Head of a Peasant Woman is a particularly empathetic display of the artist's skill, and in a technique that differs significantly from his thick, energetically swirling paintings.
The delicately drawn fragile female nudes of Klimt, Schiele, Matisse and Modigliani offer a glimpse of the confrontational abstraction to come with modern art as the 20th century progressed. Also included are drawings by great sculptors – Maillol, Brancusi, González, Moore and Giacometti – which reveal that, as Degas said, drawing is not form but the way of seeing form. In addition, the exhibit includes works by major Spanish artists such as Juan Gris, Joan Miró, Óscar Domínguez and Salvador Dalí.
"We are honored to present for the first time in the United States an assembly of drawings from one of Spain's most distinguished private collections," said Dr. Mark Roglán, director of the Meadows Museum. "The exhibition gives our visitors the unique opportunity to see works by major international artists that are otherwise not on view to the public. These drawings, either conceived by their creators as intimate sketches or destined to be presented as finished works, show the creative process and truly reflect the profound changes that occurred in art from the period of Impressionism to Abstraction."
While the Abelló Collection includes a wide range of artworks, from Spanish Old Masters to sculptures to contemporary paintings, Juan Abelló noted, "Works on paper have always enjoyed a place of distinction within our collection.
"I believe drawing to be the most immediate and spontaneous form of artistic expression, capable of containing an artist's entire universe within its lines, especially in the case of 20th-century artists," he said. "It always astonishes me to see how a blank page can be transformed by a single line, the result of a rapid gesture that uses the barest elements to give birth to an idea and, by extension, the artist's imaginative world."
The Meadows Museum will present a variety of public programs in conjunction with the exhibition. On Saturday, April 13 at 3 p.m., Dr. Guillermo Solana, Chief Curator of the Thyssen-Bornesmisza Museum in Madrid and curator of From Manet to Miró, will give a lecture about the Abelló Collection in the Dr. Bob Smith Auditorium at the museum; admission is free. For more information, please call 214-768-4677. For a complete list of other exhibition-related programs, please visit www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org.
As a complement to the exhibition, the Meadows Museum will feature Master Drawings from the Meadows Collection, a display of 22 drawings from the 18th through 20th centuries by major Spanish artists, including Mariano Fortuny, Raimundo de Madrazo, José Jiménez Aranda, Joaquín Sorolla, Julio González and Joan Miró. The works, drawn from the Meadows Museum permanent collection and rarely exhibited publicly, include pencil, ink, and chalk drawings and pastels. The display showcases the work of Spanish artists within the context of their international colleagues of the same time period, featured in the Abelló Collection.
From Manet to Miró was organized by the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, the Meadows Museum, and the Abelló Collection. The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue, with principal text by Dr. Solana. The show comes to the Meadows Museum from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, its only other venue. The exhibition has been brought to Dallas by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation.
About the Meadows Museum
The Meadows Museum, a division of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, with works dating from the 10th to the 21st century. It includes masterpieces by some of the world's greatest painters: El Greco, Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Miró and Picasso.
The museum is located at 5900 Bishop Blvd. on the campus of SMU, three blocks west of the DART light rail Mockingbird Station. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 per person, free on Thursday evenings after 5 p.m., and free for children under 12, museum members, and SMU faculty, staff and students. Ample free parking is available in the museum garage.
For information, call 214-768-2516 or visit the museum's website at www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org.
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