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Exhibitions/ Drawings and Prints

Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection

At The Met Fifth Avenue
October 8–December 8, 2014

Exhibition Overview

The fall rotation in the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Gallery highlights recent purchases and gifts to the Museum, as well as selections from rich, but not often seen, parts of the permanent collection. Beginning with Christ in Limbo, a recently acquired mid-sixteenth-century drawing by Luca Penni (Italian, 1500/1504–1557), an Italian Mannerist artist active in France, the installation presents a series of juxtaposed pairs exploring the dialogues and transformations between drawings and the prints for which they were models.

The exhibition also includes a display of drawings by the Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863), many of which were recently acquired thanks to a generous gift from Mrs. Karen B. Cohen. Some of these works, such as the artist's study for "The Sultan of Morocco and his Entourage", focus on the artist's North African sojourn in 1832, while others such as Crouching Tiger demonstrate his love for exotic and ferocious animals. Continuing the exhibition's selections from nineteenth-century France are four large lithographs by Théodore Géricault (French, 1791–1824), all from his series devoted to horses.

Among the other diverse themes explored is the sometimes playful, sometimes serious use of military motifs in eighteenth-century France through a selection featuring drawings by Jacques Louis David (French, 1748–1825), Jean Charles Delafosse (French, 1734–1789), and Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg (French, 1740–1812). Whimsy continues with nineteenth-century works devoted to fairies and fairytales, stories that held a particular fascination for the Victorians, due in part to a revival of interest in the plays of William Shakespeare and the translation and publication of the Grimm Brothers' Children's and Household Tales in nineteenth-century England. The evolution of fairy imagery is traced in examples ranging from Henry Fuseli's (Swiss, 1741–1825) Neoclassical depiction of Gloriana from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen, to Walter Crane's Arts and Crafts–style illustrations for the Grimms' stories.

Moving to works produced on American soil, another selection includes advertising posters produced during the poster craze of the 1890s, including William Bradley's Victor Bicycles and Edward Penfield's July 1896 cover for Harper's magazine. Also featuring advertising is a display organized around two LIFE magazine posters from 1967 that transform the company's iconic logo. These posters, paired with prints by Pop artists such as Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008), Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), James Rosenquist (American, b. 1933), and Jim Dine (American, b. 1935) demonstrate how artists explored the boundaries between art and the everyday, appropriating imagery from newspapers, fashion magazines, and advertisements into their prints.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in

Exhibition Objects

Luca Penni (Italian, 1500/1504–1557). Christ in Limbo, ca. 1547–48. Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, heightened with white gouache, on a paper prepared with pale brown wash. Incised for transfer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest and Harry G. Sperling Fund, 2014 (2014.264)