Master Drawings from the Smith College Museum of Art Return to Northampton

Master Drawings from the Smith College Museum of Art (Part I) features forty works on paper, ranging from the late 15th century to the mid 19th century. Many earlier drawings are represented, including a rare silverpoint attributed to Dieric Bouts of the late 1460s-70s and the only Matthias Grünewald drawing in America. Highlights also include a beatific pastel study of a young woman’s head by Federico Barocci and a double-sided figure drawing for the painting The Dream of Jacob by Il Cigoli. The drawing collection’s greatest strengths, however, reflect the general strength of the museum’s holdings in 19th and early-20th century art. This is largely the result of an astute collecting policy established by the Museum’s first director, Alfred Vance Churchill, who concentrated the museum’s resources on the acquisition of works of Western art since the French Revolution.

In addition to fine Italian and Northern European drawings from the 16th through 18th centuries by artists Giovanni Battista Tiepolo to Thomas Gainsborough, the exhibition includes many works by important French masters. Major drawings presented in the show include a double portrait by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a double-sided sheet by Théodore Géricault, three studies for the museum’s painting The Daughter of Jephthah by Edgar Degas, and an impressive portrait drawing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

For more information on the exhibition and a complete checklist, please visit the exhibition Web site: www.smith.edu/artmuseum/exhibitions/masterdrawings

A scholarly catalogue published by Hudson Hills Press accompanies the exhibition. The text, Master Drawings from the Smith College Museum of Art, was written by Ann H. Sievers, with Linda Muehlig, Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Smith College Museum of Art and Nancy Rich, Curator of Education.

Smith College began collecting works of art shortly after it was founded in 1871, as part of a commitment to devote “more time…than in other colleges to aesthetical study, to the principles on which the fine arts are founded, to the art of drawing and the science of perspective, to the examination of great models of painting and statuary.” At this time, the museum holds nearly 25,000 works of art, including a collection of over 1,700 drawings, and is considered to be among the foremost college or university art museums in the country.

As part of the Brown Fine Arts Center, The Smith College Museum of Art will re-open on April 27 after undergoing an ambitious $35 million renovation and expansion project.

Please visit the museum’s Web site for more information: www.smith.edu/artmuseum.

Since the first Smith College students began their studies in the fall of 1875, the college has maintained its goal to provide the highest quality undergraduate education for women. A highly selective liberal arts institution, Smith has consistently been among the top national liberal arts colleges in rankings published in U.S. News & World Report. The College has an undergraduate enrollment on campus of 2,500 students participating in over fifty areas of study, including the first undergraduate engineering program in the United States for women only.

Please visit the museum online at www.smith.edu/artmuseum. To purchase a copy of the Master Drawings catalogue online in hard cover or soft cover, go to www.smith.edu/museumshop. To contact the museum call 413.585.2760 or send email to artmuseum@smith.edu or write to Smith College Museum of Art, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063.