Drawings and works on paper are enjoying something of a renaissance. This has always been a field that attracts serious collectors, but, while good Old Master paintings are affected by a dearth of supply, works on paper remain more plentiful, including those by the big names. They are also more affordable.
Academically, drawings can often be interesting as they reveal an artist’s thought processes and those works that can be linked to a finished painting (as, say, a preparatory sketch) are deemed especially attractive.
New York and Paris
Many forums exist for buying and collecting (such as next week’s Works on Paper Fair in London).
But at the forefront are two annual international events dedicated to works on paper: Master Drawings New York (MDNY) that opens the calendar year and the Salon du Dessin held in Paris each spring.
Although the first is a gallery-based event in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the other is in a dedicated exhibition space in the French capital, they have much in common. Both are relatively small in terms of participants, feature a mix of resident and overseas exhibitors and attract a raft of serious collectors and museum curators.
These drawings events also tie in with a parallel run of auctions that are either dedicated drawings sales or feature sizeable works on paper sections as each city capitalises on the serious customer footfall. And there is also an institutional input with museum exhibitions, private views and special tours.
MDNY has two significant changes this year. The first is that the dates have been moved back a week, so it will run from January 27-February 3. This is in order to coincide with the main drawings auctions in the city (discussed in more detail on page 36).
As Crispian Riley-Smith, chief executive of MDNY, says: “The change in date ensures the top collectors and museum directors and curators who come to town for the auctions will also take in the exceptional drawings, paintings and sculptures that our top dealers save for Master Drawings week.”
The other main change is that MDNY will now also encompass paintings and sculptures. There are 21 participants this year, 10 of them new, composed of half resident galleries and half ‘guests’, many from London.
“MDNY leadership sees the expansion as a way to offer the visitor a richer and more layered art-looking experience, while the core strength of the show remains fine drawings,” says Riley-Smith.
Museum participation this year is also significant. MDNY’s dates coincide with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s major exhibition Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, which closes on February 12. MDNY has a special private early hours view plus a curatorial discussion on the drawings of Michelangelo and Rodin.
In the articles below, we feature a small selection of the works on sale at MDNY:
For more details on Master Drawings New York, see masterdrawingsinnewyork.com