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Romaine Brooks

Departure
about 1930
charcoal and pencil
11 7/16 x 8 15/16 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist

Brooks confounds us—where does this sinuous line begin and end? Her drawings invite reading them as visual mysteries because, as she maintained, "They evolve from the subconscious. Without premeditation they aspire to a maximum of expression with a minimum of means. Whether inspired by laughter, philosophy, sadness or death, these introspective patterns are each imprisoned within the inevitable encircling line."