January 15, 2010 — August 7, 2010
Graphic Masters III: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the third in a series of special installations, celebrates the extraordinary variety and accomplishment of American artists' works on paper. These twenty-eight exceptional watercolors, charcoals, and drawings from the 1960s to the 1990s 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 artist's hand, the immediacy of a thought made visible.
Rarely seen works from the museum's permanent collection by artists such as Robert Arneson, Jennifer Bartlett, Will Barnet, Carolyn Brady, Paul Cadmus, Patricia Tobacco Forrester, Philip Guston, Luis Jiménez, Claes Oldenburg, and Wayne Thiebaud, are featured. Joann Moser, senior curator, selected the artworks in the exhibition.
A souvenir book, titled Graphic Masters: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and published by the museum in 2003, includes several works in the installation with entries by Moser. It is available for $19.95 in the museum's store and online.