Master Drawings, Spring 2023: French Drawings

Immerse yourself in the richness of French drawings in the latest issue of Master Drawings (Vol. 61, no. 1). Featured on the cover is a beautiful watercolor by Léon Bonvin. The artist held a special place in the heart of Ger Luijten, the late director of the Fondation Custodia in Paris, who died unexpectedly at the end of last year and to whom this issue is dedicated. Several tributes are made to this important scholar and leader in the field, including a moving obituary by Ilona van Tuinen. Master Drawings remains especially grateful for his many years of support of our journal.

Discovery and rediscovery feature prominently in the current issue. The 2023 Ricciardi Prize winner, Thea Goldring, shares her discovery of two troves of beautiful and meticulous drawings by the eighteenth-century French natural history illustrator, Carême de Fécamp. (For an engaging overview, listen to Goldring’s presentation at the Master Drawings symposium.) The article is accompanied by an online catalogue of the over 130 sheets of studies of fossils, shells, horns, etc. available on our digital resources page.

In a fascinating essay Antoinette Friedenthal writes of a self-portrait by seventeenth-century artist Pierre van Schuppen, a rare Flemish draftsman active in Paris. Formerly this rediscovered sheet was in an eighteenth-century album at the Albertina assembled for Prince Eugene of Savoy. François Marandet provides the first study of the career and drawings of Antoine Boizot, a pupil in François Lemoyne’s studio (along with Charles-Joseph Natoire and François Boucher), and a chameleon-like artist who adapted his style to suit evolving tastes. The issue also features an article by Ger Luijten’s colleague Laurence Lhinares, who tackles the challenging assignment of separating the works of father and son artists Michel and Alphonse Mandevare.

Four significant reviews by pre-eminent scholars on museum exhibitions of French Masters round out the issue. The 2022 exhibit Jacques Louis David: Radical Draftsman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, curated by Master Drawings reviews editor Perrin Stein, is thoughtfully examined by Kevin Salantino, who details the artist’s impact on drawing in nineteenth-century Paris. Margaret Morgan Grasselli, associate editor of this journal, writes two poignant exhibition reviews of shows at the Fondation Custodia: Nineteenth-century French Drawings and Léon Bonvin (1834-1866), Drawn to the Everyday, touching upon the guiding role Ger Luijten played in both. Finally, Richard Shiff looks at the blockbuster exhibition and catalogue for MoMA’s 2021 exhibit, Cézanne Drawing, featuring over 250 works by the master.

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