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Lowell Libson to offer previously unpublished Gainsborough drawings during Master Drawings in New York
Thomas Gainsborough, Figures resting in woodland landscape, signed 1784. Pen and ink wash, 232 x 291. Photo: Courtesy of Lowell Libson.

NEW YORK, NY.- The exhibition is centered round a group of landscape drawings made by Gainsborough in the last two decades of his life but includes twelve drawings by Gainsborough spanning the full length of his career, from Gainsborough’s earliest recorded landscape study – completed when the artist was only 18 – to a preparatory drawing for one of his last ‘Fancy pictures’ A Boy with a Cat, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which was completed the year before his death. Three of the drawings are previously unpublished and exhibited to the public for the first time here.

Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was one of the Britain’s greatest artists, famed for his engaging portraits and evocative landscape paintings, he is also universally acknowledged as one of the finest European draughtsman of the eighteenth century. Despite this reputation, there have been very few exhibitions dedicated to Gainsborough’s drawings. These are not topographical works but imagined landscapes which Gainsborough created by drawing models he created using rocks and wood found in his garden and, as one writer noted, ‘distant woods of broccoli.’

Gainsborough was fascinated by a limited number of landscape features - herds of cattle, serpentine roads, clumps of trees and hilly horizons – often obsessively playing with these features time and time again, each time creating completely new works. This creative repetition – or refinement – was given expression in Gainsborough’s fascination with different techniques.

No two drawings in the exhibition are handled in the same way as Gainsborough explored different combinations of chalks, pencil, ink washes and watercolour in each work. Many of the drawings in the exhibition have provenances stretching back to the eighteenth century, one is inscribed as a present from ‘the ingenious artist’ to the daughter of a friend, another was in the collection of the celebrated surgeon, Dr John Hunter, who treated Gainsborough in his final illness. This group is the largest concentration of Gainsborough drawings to be offered by an art gallery since the celebrated exhibition mounted by Knoedler in 1914. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with scholarly entries written by the leading Gainsborough authority, Hugh Belsey.

The exhibition is free and open daily from Friday 24 January to Saturday 1 February, 2014 Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10075 Opening times: Monday to Saturday 11am – 6pm Sunday January 26, 2pm – 6pm Tuesday 28 and Thursday 30 January, 11am – 8pm

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