DALLAS, TX.- The Meadows Museum presents From Manet to Miro: Modern Drawings from the Abello Collection, an exhibit of works by 45 of the most important artists of the past two centuries, from September 14 through December 2, 2008. The drawings, by such artists as Manet, Degas, Dali and Miro, are from the private collection of Juan Abello and his wife, Anna Gamazo, of Madrid, who were recently named among the world's 200 top art collectors by ArtNews. The exhibit marks the first time their collection has been shown in the United States, and the Meadows Museum is its only U.S. venue.
For centuries, drawing's status was limited; it was seen simply as a medium for an artist's preparatory work. Sketches from life provided sources of inspiration for later artistic interpretation, and compositional studies were used to determine the overall arrangement of a work. Both served as scaffolding that could later be dismantled or hidden. With the birth of modern art and its reaction against academic traditions, within which drawing was of utmost importance, the preparatory function of the graphic arts did not disappear; artists continued to draw in order to record or outline their ideas before executing them in another medium, such as painting or sculpture. Simultaneously, drawing began to slowly earn respect as an independent artistic medium. The appreciation of drawing as an art form in itself fueled the development of a wide range of techniques and styles.
The 64 master drawings featured in From Manet to Miro provide a complete survey of modern and contemporary art over 200 years, from a small but dazzling 1805 crayon drawing by Francisco de Goya of his wife, Josefa Bayeu, to a 1987 work by Miquel Barcelo. The exhibit is organized by defining artistic movements, including Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Pop and Contemporary Art.
The Impressionists are well represented, with drawings by Manet, Degas (among them the splendid, colorful pastel Woman Drying Herself or After the Bath), Pissarro, Cassatt and Renoir. Although the pioneers of this movement left tradition behind with their broken brushstrokes, depictions of everyday life and careful rendering of light with paint, most had still undertaken rigorous academic training and were excellent draughtsmen.
Also featured are many of the great pioneers of 20th-century art, including Gauguin, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Klimt, Schiele, Matisse and Van Dongen. A testament to versatility, Van Gogh's pencil and black chalk drawing titled Head of a Peasant Woman is a particularly empathetic display of the artist's skill, and in a technique that differs significantly from his thick, energetically swirling paintings. The delicately drawn fragile female nudes of Klimt, Schiele, Matisse and Modigliani offer a glimpse of the confrontational abstraction to come with modern art as the 20th century progressed. Also included are drawings by great sculptors such as Maillol, Brancusi, Gonzalez, Moore and Giacometti, which reveal that, as Degas said, drawing is not form but the way of seeing form. In addition, the exhibit includes works by major Spanish artists such as Juan Gris, Joan Miro, Oscar Dominguez and Salvador Dali.
"We are honored to present for the first time in the United States an assembly of drawings from one of Spain's most distinguished private collections," said Dr. Mark Roglan, director of the Meadows Museum. "The exhibition gives our visitors the unique opportunity to see works by major international artists that are otherwise not on view to the public. These drawings, either conceived by their creators as intimate sketches or destined to be presented as finished works, show the creative process and truly reflect the profound changes that occurred in art from the period of Impressionism to Abstraction.
While the Abello Collection includes a wide range of artworks, from Spanish Old Masters to sculptures to contemporary paintings, Juan Abello noted, "Works on paper have always enjoyed a place of distinction within our collection."
"I believe drawing to be the most immediate and spontaneous form of artistic expression, capable of containing an artist's entire universe within its lines, especially in the case of 20th-century artists," he said. "It always astonishes me to see how a blank page can be transformed by a single line, the result of a rapid gesture that uses the barest elements to give birth to an idea and, by extension, the artist's imaginative world."