Works on paper are shown to the viewer rarely and briefly. This technique is fragile and unpredictable. Organising an exhibition of works on paper is technically more difficult than a painting exhibition. Works on paper are light averse and require a special climate and hanging conditions. Nevertheless, at In Artibus Foundation we sometimes organise special ‘viewings’ of one or another part of my collection of works on paper. This time the focus is on French drawings from the 16th to the 20th century. It is the Foundation’s third exhibition of European works on paper, and continues a series that began with the exhibition From Bozzetto to Capriccio, which featured Italian drawings, and was followed by one of drawings by the sculptors Rodin, Maillol and Despiau. The current exhibition presents around one hundred works by French artists, spanning a period from the Renaissance to modernism. Our selection is chronological and focuses on artists who were of fundamental significance for the history of art.
The exhibition opens with drawings by masters of the 16th century who were close to the School of Fontainebleau. The 17th century is unthinkable without Nicolas Poussin, and the 18th without Antoine Watteau, François Boucher and Jean-Honoré Fragonard, who were inseparably linked to the concept of Rococo. The artists Eugène Delacroix and Théodore Géricault, Honoré Daumier and Camille Corot, who worked until the ‘plein air revolution’, played an extremely important role in French art of the 19th century. As did the ‘revolutionaries’ and those who came after them: Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Georges Seurat. The great masters of modernism — Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso — represent the 20th century.
Works on paper are traditionally considered to be an auxiliary product of the creative process, the artist’s ‘kitchen’, however this point of view is gradually changing. To present the drawing as an independent field of art, with its own worldview and rules, is the aim of our exhibition