Graphic Masters III: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Media - 1999.80 - SAAM-1999.80_1 - 52092

Wayne Thiebaud, Neapolitan Meringue, 1986/1999, pastel over trial proof lithograph on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Warren Unna, Terry and Margaret Stent, and the Thiebaud Family, and museum purchase in honor of Nan Tucker McEvoy, 1999.80, © 1999, Paul Le Baron Thiebaud

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.

Visiting Information

January 15, 2010 August 7, 2010
Open Daily, 11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m
Free Admission

Online Gallery

Media - 1985.81 - SAAM-1985.81_1 - 52066
Feeling Pushed
chalk, pencil, and crayon on paper
Not on view
Study for Self-Portrait
charcoal on vellum with traces of colored pencil
Not on view
Media - 1979.159.59 - SAAM-1979.159.59_1 - 52055
Study for Swimmers Atlanta: Seaweed
watercolor, enamel, pen and ink, and pencil on paper
Not on view
Media - 1997.111 - SAAM-1997.111_1 - 52091
August Breakfast/​Maine
watercolor on paper
Not on view
Media - 1986.6.88 - SAAM-1986.6.88_1 - 52072
Preliminary sketch for Subway Symphony
pencil, casein, crayon, and chalk on paper mounted on paperboard
Not on view
Media - 1990.84 - SAAM-1990.84_1 - 52081
Storm and Fires
charcoal and pastel on paper
Not on view
Media - 1991.20 - SAAM-1991.20_1 - 64515
October Meeting
brush and ink on paper on paper
Not on view
Media - 2008.8 - SAAM-2008.8_1 - 70995
Patty Ann” Rodeo Queen
colored pencil on paper
Not on view
Media - 1988.3 - SAAM-1988.3_1 - 52074
Night Piece
pastel on paper
Not on view
Media - 1989.64 - SAAM-1989.64_1 - 64760
graphite and oil on mylar
Not on view
Media - 1979.53.23 - SAAM-1979.53.23_1 - 52057
Arytystic Pairanoiya
watercolor and pencil on paper
Not on view
Media - 2005.5.52 - SAAM-2005.5.52_1 - 67275
Inverted Letter Q
charcoal and watercolor on paper
Not on view
Media - 2009.19 - SAAM-2009.19_1 - 70973
Untitled (Bathroom)
pastel crayon and collage on paper
Not on view
Media - 1967.102.1 - SAAM-1967.102.1_1 - 52037
Still Life with Cat
pen and ink, ink wash, colored pencil, pencil and paper collage on paper
Not on view
Media - 1990.28 - SAAM-1990.28_1 - 52077
Oiran and Mirror, from the AIDS Series
watercolor on paper
Not on view
Media - 1999.80 - SAAM-1999.80_1 - 52092
Neapolitan Meringue
pastel over trial proof lithograph on paper
Not on view
Media - 1996.45 - SAAM-1996.45_1 - 64763
Hats #2
silverpoint on prepared paper
Not on view
Media - 1996.20 - SAAM-1996.20_1 - 68806
pencil on paper
Not on view


Media - portrait_image_113314.jpg - 89885
Robert Arneson
born Benicia, CA 1930-died Benicia, CA 1992

Feeling Pushed captures Robert Arneson at an especially stressful moment in his life. Two years earlier, he had been diagnosed with cancer, possibly caused by the chemicals contained in his art materials.

Media - portrait_image_113319.jpg - 89903
Will Barnet
born Beverly, MA 1911-died New York City 2012

Painter and printmaker, teacher at the Art Students League. Barnet's images of women and domestic scenes, distinctive in their emphasis on flat painting surfaces, are meditative in tone.

Jennifer Bartlett
born Long Beach, CA 1941 - died Amagansett, NY 2022

Jennifer Bartlett is the daughter of a pipeline engineer and a fashion illustrator. In the late 1950s she attended Mills College, an unconventional school in Oakland, California, that encouraged experimentation and discouraged textbooks.

Carolyn Brady
born Chickasha, OK 1937-died Rochester, MN 2005
Media - cadmus_paul.jpg - 89961
Paul Cadmus
born New York City 1904-died Weston, CT 1999

Cadmus entered the school of the National Academy of Design at fifteen with the encouragement of his parents, both of whom were artists.

Patricia Tobacco Forrester
born Northampton, MA 1940-died Washington, DC 2011
Media - portrait_image_113699.jpg - 90394
Philip Guston
born Montreal, Quebec, Canada 1913-died Woodstock, NY 1980

Philip Guston was born Philip Goldstein in Montreal, Canada, in 1913 to Russian emigrés from Odessa. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1919. In 1925, he took a correspondence course in cartooning.

Media - portrait_image_113566.jpg - 90312
Luis Jiménez
born El Paso, TX 1940-died Hondo, NM 2006

Born in Texas, lives in New Mexico. Sculptor, teacher whose large fiberglass figures capture the color and vigor of Hispanic-American women and men.

Charles Sullivan, ed American Beauties: Women in Art and Literature (New York: Henry N.

Claes Oldenburg
born Stockholm, Sweden 1929-died New York City 2022
Media - portrait_image_113683.jpg - 90362
Wayne Thiebaud
born Mesa, AZ 1920-died Sacramento, CA 2021

Born in Mesa, Arizona, Wayne Thiebaud became one of the most well-known Pop artists in America. His iconic images of food may have stemmed from his beginnings as a freelance cartoonist in 1939.