Graphic Masters I: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
is the first in a series of special installations that celebrate the extraordinary variety and accomplishment of American artists works on paper. These 40 exceptional watercolors, pastels and drawings from the early 19th century through the 1930s reveal the central importance of works on paper for American artists, both as studies for creations in other media and as finished works of art. Traditionally a more intimate form of expression than painting or sculpture, drawings often reveal greater spontaneity and experimentation. Even as works on paper become larger and more finished, competing in scale with easel paintings, they retain a sense of the artists hand, the immediacy of a thought made visible.
Rarely seen works from the museums permanent collection by masters such as John James Audubon, Romaine Brooks, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, John La Farge, Man Ray, John Marin, Georgia OKeeffe and Max Weber are featured in the exhibition. Joann Moser, senior curator for graphic arts, selected the artworks in the exhibition.