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Dishing Out New Design: A Grand Légumier by Süe et Mare
This design for a vegetable dish, now on view in The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, blends classical forms with modern decorative details.
Hesse’s Study
This figure study of a nude male depicted from the rear in contrapposto, bears the geometric massing and imperfect proportions of the work of a student.  Made in 1957, the drawing is a vestige of the collegiate days of renowned artist Eva Hesse (b. Hamburg, 1936-1970). From 1954-1957, Hesse was a student at the Cooper Union...
Parade of Parachutes
LIFE magazine deemed him as a “dressmaker in silver” in 1939, but Tommi Parzinger was an incredibly versatile designer, celebrated for his furniture, wallpaper, packaging and textiles.[1] Parzinger designed furnishings for socialites, decorators, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and the Rockefellers and he established himself as a man about town in the glamorous circles of...
Dogs of New York
Christina Malman’s 1935 drawing of a woman embracing a dog is both aesthetically  magnetic and brimming with affect.  Using a brush with black ink and white gouache, Malman masterfully utilizes positive and negative space to create simplified forms that are at once sleekly modern and yet familiar.  The figures are depicted in a kind of...
Cut Out Katahdin
“The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to climb and pry into their secrets, and try their effect on our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, go there.”   – Henry David Thoreau, “The Maine Woods” Praised by his mentor Thomas...
Nouveau Repose
The entrances he designed for the Parisian Metro system in 1900 made Hector Guimard an icon of French design at the turn of the 20th century. Between the 1890s and 1930s, Guimard designed buildings and objects for the public and private spheres, both large and small in scale.  He is responsible for hundreds of decorative objects as well as over 50 buildings and interiors....
Maid in Glass
Perhaps better known for his illustrations of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Elihu Vedder’s prolific career began in the 1860’s, when the Hudson River School was in its prime, and ended in the early 20th century, when Modernism was taking root. His work, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, captured the imagination of late 19th-century audiences. Born...
Large charcoal drawing of the stage for "King Lear" scene two. The stage itself is black and the backdrop is white and grey. At left, a tall, straight-backed chair. In center, extending from backdrop to front of stage, is a long, flat bed.
Wilson Lights the Lights
If anyone has come to know seminal avant-garde theatre director Robert Wilson, they will have witnessed the autodidact hard at work sketching. Whether backstage at a major European opera house or cramped into an economy-class plane seat—flying over the Alps to simulate the intensity of a Wagner aria—he always garners silence when drawing. When at...
A drawing of a tomb with a sarcophagus in a rounded-arch niche. A robed figure of Death stands before the sarcophagus holding a smoking lamp. The tomb is flanked by 2 recumbent lions carved in stone.
Simply Macabre
In this atmospheric drawing, the robed figure of Death holds a smoking brazier and presides over a tomb cast in a gray wash. Stark shadows describe the geometric forms of a massive sarcophagus and sepulchral niche. The simplicity of the somber interior evokes the proportions of Egyptian architecture, as well as that ancient culture’s fascination with death. Louis-Jean...