Betye Saar: Call and Response
September 12, 2020 through January 31, 2021
Los Angeles–based artist Betye Saar (b. 1926) emerged in the 1960s as a major voice in American art. Part of a wave of artists, many of them African American, who embraced the medium of assemblage, she is known best for incisive collages and assemblage sculptures that confront and reclaim racist images. The daughter of a seamstress, and a printmaker by training, Saar brings to her work a remarkable sensitivity to materials. Her imagery is drawn from popular culture, family history, and a wide range of spiritual traditions.
This exhibition, conceived in close consultation with the artist, looks at the relationship between Saar’s finished works and the preliminary annotated sketches she has made in small notebooks throughout her career. In addition, the show will include approximately a dozen of Saar’s travel sketchbooks with more finished drawings and collages—often relating to leitmotifs seen across her oeuvre—which she has made over a lifetime of journeys worldwide. Selections will cover the span of her career, from the late 1960s up through a sculptural installation made specifically for this exhibition.
This exhibition is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Carol S. Eliel, Senior Curator of Modern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The coordinating curator at the Morgan Library & Museum is Rachel Federman, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings.
Betye Saar: Call and Response is made possible with lead corporate support from Morgan Stanley and lead support from the Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by Agnes Gund; Louisa Stude Sarofim; The Lunder Foundation – Peter and Paula Lunder family; Francis H. Williams and Keris Salmon; the Terra Foundation for American Art; and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California.
Image Credit: Betye Saar, sketch for Eyes of the Beholder, November 6, 1994. Watercolor and ballpoint pen on paper. Collection of Betye Saar, courtesy the artist and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles. © Betye Saar. Photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
October 2, 2020 through May 30, 2021
David Hockney (b. 1937) is one of the most internationally respected and renowned artists alive today. This exhibition will be the first to focus on his portraits on paper and one of very few exhibitions to investigate his drawing practice. Featuring about 100 drawings, the exhibition will trace a trajectory from Hockney’s early works as a student, to his Ingres-like portraits of the 1970s, and his return to the sketchbooks in the early 2000s. The exhibition will be unique in exploring Hockney’s practice on paper through a small group of sitters he has depicted repeatedly over the years: his muse and confidante, the designer Celia Birtwell; his mother; his friend and curator Gregory Evans, master printer Maurice Payne; and the artist himself. Each of these individuals have been important to Hockney. Over time he has rendered them in different forms: pencil, pen and ink, etchings, photocollages, iphone and ipad drawings. In re-visiting these people over decades, Hockney gives us a unique insight into how his practice has evolved over time.
An exhibition organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the artist and the Morgan Library & Museum.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life is made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Robert King Steel and Katharine J. Rayner. Additional support is provided by the Rita Markus Fund for Exhibitions, with assistance from Dian Woodner and David and Tanya Wells.
Photo Credit: David Hockney, Self Portrait with Red Braces, 2003, Watercolor on paper, 24 x 18 1/8 inches, © David Hockney, Photography by Richard Schmidt.
Poetry and Patronage:
The Laubespine-Villeroy Library Rediscovered
October 16, 2020 through May 16, 2021
Young, handsome, and highborn, Claude III de Laubespine lived in luxury after marrying an heiress and obtaining the favor of King Charles IX. His brilliant career at court was cut short in 1570, when he died at the age of 25. He left behind a splendid library, which was dispersed, and only recently have his books been identified and properly appreciated for their superb quality and fine bindings. Laubespine now ranks among the great collectors of the French Renaissance.
For the first time in more than 400 years, this exhibition brings together some of the most spectacular bindings in that collection, exquisite examples of Renaissance ornamental design. They will be shown along with related artwork and literary memorials of Laubespine. He left his books to his sister, a patron of the poet Pierre de Ronsard, who praised her country estate, the library, and its perfumed bindings, which, he said, “smells as good as your orange trees.” This exhibition will evoke the sensual pleasure and literary connoisseurship implicit in a noble library of that era.
Poetry and Patronage: The Laubespine-Villeroy Library Rediscovered is made possible by T. Kimball Brooker, with assistance from Roland and Mary Ann Folter; Jamie Kleinberg Kamph, Stonehouse Bindery; Jonathan and Megumi Hill; Martha J. Fleischman; and Professor and Mrs. Eugene S. Flamm.
Image Details: Binding commissioned by Claude de Laubespine for Vignola, Regola delli cinque ordini d’architettura (Rome, ca. 1564). Morgan Library & Museum; Purchased as the gift of the Fellows, 1960.
Conversations in Drawing:
Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection
Opening February 19th, 2021 through June 6th, 2021
This exhibition celebrates the remarkable collection of drawings assembled by Richard Gray, one of America’s foremost art dealers, and art historian Mary L. Gray. Amassed over the course of nearly 50 years and encompassing works made in Europe and the United States between the fifteenth and the twenty-first centuries, the collection provides a stimulating stroll through a long and distinguished history of art making via one medium: drawing. Many of the works included in the exhibition focus on the human figure, underscoring the role of art as a window onto our shared humanity. While established names appear throughout the display—Boucher, Degas, Hockney, Matisse, Picasso, Rubens, Seurat, and Van Gogh, among others—the Grays were more interested in skill than in celebrity, and many of their exceptional drawings bear the names of lesser-known draftsmen. Keenly aware of their place in the history art, many of the artists consistently engaged in lively conversations with their contemporaries and forebears. Juxtaposing drawings from distinct periods and places, this exhibition explores these visual connections, highlighting the affinities and tensions that have emerged over the course of the medium’s long history.
Conversations in Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection was organized by The Art Institute of Chicago in cooperation with the Morgan Library & Museum.
The exhibition is made possible by an anonymous donor.
Image Credit: Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Two Dancers 1925 © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy:
Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection
Opening May 28th, 2021 through September 12th, 2021
For nearly a century, members of three generations of the Bibiena family were the most highly sought theater designers in Europe. Their elaborate stage designs were used for operas, festivals, and courtly performances across Europe: from their native Italy to cites as far afield as Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, and Lisbon. Beyond these performances, the distinctive Bibiena style survives through their remarkable drawings. This exhibition
is the first in the United States in over thirty years to celebrate these talented draftsmen and marks the promised gift to the Morgan of a group of Bibiena drawings from the collection of Jules Fisher, the Tony-winning lighting designer. These drawings demonstrate the range of the Bibienas’ output, from energetic sketches to highly finished watercolors. With representations of imagined palace interiors and lavish illusionistic architecture, this group of drawings will highlight the visual splendor of the baroque stage.
Architecture, Theater, and Fantasy: Bibiena Drawings from the Jules Fisher Collection is a program of the Drawing Institute.
Image Credit: Carlo Galli Bibiena, A Colonnaded Stage Set, ca. 1750. Pen and brown and black ink with gray wash, 340 x 489 mm. Promised gift of Jules Fisher.
She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia
Opening June 18th, 2021 through January 9th, 2022
She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of artworks that capture rich and shifting expressions of women’s lives in ancient Mesopotamia during the 3rd millennium B.C. These works bear testament to women’s roles in religious contexts as goddesses, priestesses, and worshippers as well as in social, economic and political spheres as mothers, workers, and rulers. One particularly remarkable woman who wielded considerable religious and political power was the high priestess and poet Enheduanna (ca. 2300 B.C.), the earliest-named author in world literature.
Bringing together a spectacular collection of her texts and images, this exhibition celebrates her timeless poetry and abiding legacy as an author, priestess, and woman. She Who Wrote: Enheduanna and Women of Mesopotamia is made possible through the generosity of Jeannette and Jonathan Rosen.
Additional support is provided by Laurie and David Ying and by a gift in memory of Max Elghanayan, with assistance from Lauren Belfer and Michael Marissen.
Image Credit: Fragment of a vessel with frontal image of a goddess Mesopotamia, Sumerian. Early Dynastic IIIb period, ca. 2400 BC. Cuneiform inscription in Sumerian Basalt; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum; VA 07248, acquired in 1914–15
Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities
Opening June 25th, 2021 through September 26th, 2021
Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander is internationally celebrated for bringing Indo-Persian miniature-painting traditions into dialogue with contemporary art practice. This exhibition tracks the first 15 years of this artistic journey, from her groundbreaking deconstruction of miniature painting in Pakistan to the development of a new personal vocabulary at RISD, expanded explorations around identity as a Core fellow at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and her global outlook during her first years in New York. During this period, Sikander richly interrogated gender, sexuality, race, class, and history, creating open-ended narratives that have sustained her work as one of the most significant artists working today.
Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities is organized by the RISD Museum in collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum.
The exhibition is also made possible by generous support from the Terra Foundation for American Art and Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. Rosen.
Image Credit: Shahzia Sikander Hood’s Red Rider #2, 1997 Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper 25.7 x 18.1 cm (10 1/8 x 7 1/8 inches) Collection of Susan and Lewis Manilow
Bound for Versailles:
The Jayne Wrightsman Bookbindings Collection
Opening June 25th, 2021 through September 26th, 2021
In the spring of 2019 Jayne Wrightsman bequeathed to the Morgan an exceptional collection of books bound for the highest echelons of 18th-century French society. Owned by kings, queens, dukes, and duchesses, the books are monuments of fine printing, elegant engraved illustration, and artistic binding by the most renowned craftspeople. Elaborately decorated bookbindings provided a canvas for an individual to signal their wealth and taste through bookbinders who reflected the trends and developments in contemporary artistic styles.
The books on display showcase the important role women, such as Madame Adélaïde, (daughter of King Louis XV) and Queen Marie- Antoinette, had as book owners and collectors. Book illustrations by François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Charles Eisen capture the visual ethos of the 18th century, while the artisan binders (male and female) at the workshops of Luc-Antoine Boyet, Antoine- Michel Padeloup, Nicolas-Denis Derome, and others produced bindings worthy of the shelves at Versailles. This exhibition honors Mrs. Wrightsman’s gift and her collecting acumen in recognizing the important role bookbinding played in the decorative arts and the cultural life of the Ancien Régime.
Image Credit: Binding by Jacques-Antoine Derome for Marie Leczinska, with the queen’s arms under mica. Le Pseautier de David, traduit en francois, avec des notes courtes, tirées de S. Augustin, & des autres Peres. Nouvelle edition, Paris: Chez Louis Josse et Charles Robustel, 1725. W 1028. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2019.