In Fine Feather

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on February 10th, 2016

blog 2 9 16 Hyde-Johnson

Jenny Hyde-Johnson Hadada Ibis, 1998
Pencil on paper

blog 2 9 16 Faust

Anne Senechal Faust
Head Study: Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture, 1981 
Pen and ink on paper

I recently led an overview tour of the Woodson Art Museum’s collection for a group of docents in training. Typically, I do this annually, so for consistency I use an outline. I also produce a list of the collection artworks divided into categories: works on paper, paintings, sculpture, etc . . . I find it provides a necessary perspective on the history and development of the collection. I’m amazed by the collection’s growth over forty years.

This is a helpful review for me, too, especially early in the new year when I’m planning several exhibitions.

One of the new exhibitions, Making Marks, will feature works from the drawing collection, which numbers 9,048 sheets. The drawing collection was initiated in 1990, so this represents impressive growth in just twenty-six years. A major bequest in 2010 included 7,245 drawings by Don Richard Eckelberry; and 850 sketches by Owen J. Gromme were given in 2015 by his daughter, Anne Marie Gromme. Added to these numbers are the yearly gifts from artists that provide a rich pool of works from which to choose.

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Simon Gudgeon 
Golden Eagle, 2006
Red chalk on paper

Making Marks will comprise pencil and ink drawings, watercolor sketches, and works in chalk, charcoal, and pastel all created over a span of seventy-five years. A few featured artists include George Miksch Sutton, Arthur Singer, Walter J. Breckenridge, Roger Tory Peterson, Henry Bismuth, Sherrie York, and Timothy David Mayhew.

Choosing different themes for each of the five distinct spaces within the Museum’s south galleries was challenging and fun. 

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Julie Chapman
Young Raven Studies, 2006
Wolff carbon pencil on BFK Rives paper

  • Fine Feather highlights beautiful bird plumage.
  • Inside Out features partial sketches, including anatomical notations.
  • Pencil Pushers comprises finely detailed illustrations.
  • Character Sketches showcases the beauty and personality of diverse subjects.
  • Quick Draw includes drawings with few lines or details.

I’m still pondering a wall color and have begun writing label copy. Remaining tasks include framing nearly all of the works and, sadly, winnowing the total number from eighty-four to an ideal sixty.

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Edward Aldrich
Gannets, 1993
Pencil on Bristol board

Making Marks opens April 9; let me know which drawings strike your fancy.

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