Press

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| 6.jan.2009

New book brings rarely seen master drawings into the light

English art is poorly represented in Danish museums due to the strained relations between the two countries in the past. The Collection of Prints and Drawings at Statens Museum for Kunst is an exception to this rule, however. A new, comprehensive and fully illustrated book maps out 350 years of English master drawings in the Collection of Prints and Drawings. This has been an overlooked chapter in the Museum’s collections, as hardly anybody, including English specialists, has known about it before.

Artists like Henry Fuseli, John Constable, Edward Burne-Jones and Henry Moore are indisputable heavyweights in the history of British art, but very few people at all until now have been cognizant of the fact that they are represented with excellent drawings in the Collection of Prints and Drawings at Statens Museum for Kunst, along with other important English artists.

Master drawings from the storeroom
Statens Museum for Kunst’s collection of English drawings is now presented in its entirety for the first time in a large fully-illustrated publication in English. The great majority of the 121 drawings have been hidden away in light-proof boxes in the storerooms of the Museum, as art works on paper are extremely sensitive to light. There has been no particular interest in these works, not even in expert circles, despite their considerable artistic value. Danish art historians have been almost totally focused on art from the European Continent, and the many conflicts over the years between the two countries have impeded the acquisition of equally fine collections of English art in Denmark.

Total overview
The publication is a catalogue raisonée, and brings English drawing art out of the shade by presenting a complete catalogue of all the 121 drawings in the Collection of Prints and Drawings. The book provides a number of striking insights into 350 years of British art. The five drawings from the hand of landscape artist John Constable (1776-1837) provide a fine insight into his artistic career, and there are no less than ten fully worked drawings by the great architect Robert Adam (1728-1792). There are five very dramatic drawings by Henry Fuseli, and two sexist drawings by Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) clearly illustrate the great British satirical tradition. There are also extraordinary drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) and William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), to say nothing of an unusually lovely sheet from the great sculptor Henry Moore’s (1898-1986) sketch book These artists are all supported by interesting drawings by famous and not so famous artists, so that the strength of English drawing from the 17th century to the middle of the 20th century is clearly revealed.

Facts about the book
British Drawings by Artists Born before 1900 (British Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings, Statens Museum for Kunst)
Authors: David Bindman, with an essay by Chris Fischer
167 pages. English. Fully illustrated in black and white, and colour. Price: 375 DKK. ISBN 978-87-92023-27-8.
The book was published with kind support from The New Carlsberg Foundation.

Every single drawing has been accorded full professional attention by the leading British specialist in this field, Dr. David Bindman, former professor at University College, London. Dr. Bindman has also written a well-informed introduction to British drawing, its genres, techniques, and development. The publication also includes a chapter that lets us into the secrets of charting the provenance of the drawings. This is written by senior curator and head of the Centre for Advanced Studies in Master Drawings, Chris Fischer.

The book is available from the Museum bookshop. Tel. 3374 8668; email: boghandel_@_smk.dk

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Master Drawings
A grant from the Velux Foundation has enabled the Centre since the year 2000 to systematically catalogue the enormous collection of foreign drawings in the Collection of Prints and Drawings. British Drawings is the sixth in the series of catalogues raisonées. The five previous catalogues are German Drawings before 1540 (Michael Bøgh Rasmussen), Central Italian Drawings (Chris Fischer), French Drawings and Watercolours 19th-20th Centuries (Jan Würtz Frandsen), Genoese Drawings (Mary Newcome Schleier) and Neapolitan Drawings (Chris Fischer and Joachim Meyer).

For further information contact:
Press Officer
Jakob Fibiger Andreasen
jakob.fibiger_@_smk.dk
T +45 3374 8474

Senior Curator
Chris Fischer
E chris.fischer_@_smk.dk
T +45 3374 8510

Updated: 10.dec.2014
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