November 1, 1978:
The exhibition of 100 New Acquisitions: Prints and Drawings spans 150 years of works from Theodore Gericault’s “The Coal Waggon” of 1821 to Tom Wesselmann’s “Bedroom Face” of 1977. These additions to The Brooklyn Museum collection, one of the finest in the United States, reflect the recent vitality of the Department of Prints and Drawings, whose international reputation began early in this century. The acquisitions will be on view through February 5, 1979, in the Second Floor Print Gallery of The Brooklyn Museum, Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue.
The Department of Prints and Drawings under the guidance of Gene Baro, Consultative Curator for more than two years, has made a concentrated effort to fill the gaps in its collection of 19th and 20th century prints as well as to vigorously continue the Department’s traditional support, since the 1930’s, of contemporary American artists.
Theodore Gericault’s four lithographs are the most important additions to the collection. His work in lithography, falling within the first twenty-five years following the discovery of this process in 1798, was important in elevating lithography to a fine art medium. These are the first Gericault’s in the Museum collection. Also from the 19th century are Edouard Manet’s famous “Lola de la Valence” from 1863 and a self portrait by Alphonse Legros, one of four works by this artist added recently. Legros’ representation in this collection is good; however, his distinctive role in late 19th century printmaking warrants building a strong representation of this often forgotten artist.
Jacques Villon was among the more innovative artists to work in printmaking in the early part of the 20th century. To add to our present holdings of Villon is “Portrait of E.D. (The Artist’s Father),” 1913, certainly a tour de force among Villon’s etching-drypoints. Of several recent acquisitions of the works by Reginald Marsh i[s] the unique “Wall Street" from 1931. The Department acquired ninety-three wood engravings by Grace Albee, two of which are in the exhibition. Out of [a] larger body of new acquisitions, is a small selection of two or three works by the artists Anne Ryan, Armin Landek[,] and Kenneth Hayes Miller.
Contemporary American prints are the largest number of acquisitions. Traditionally the Department of Prints and Drawings has encouraged and stimulated printmaking through active collecting and exhibiting. The Brooklyn Museum set a precedent more than thirty years ago by sponsoring exhibitions of the work of contemporary printmakers, selecting them from throughout the United States. After the most recent biennial, 30 Years of American Printmaking (The 20th National Print Exhibition), 1976, many of the artists’ works were acquired for the collection. On view, for example, are works by Theo Wujcik, Keith Rasmussen, Albert Stadler, Janet Ruttenberg, Larry Thomas, Richard C. Ziemann, Peter Milton, Robert Nelson, Herb Jackson, Jacob Kainen, and William T. Wiley. In conjunction with Sol LeWitt’s major print retrospective here at The Brooklyn Museum last season, a substantial collection of his graphics has been added to the permanent collection, two of which are on view. Other new acquisitions are by such renowned artists as R.B. Kitaj, Joseph Albers, Paul Wunderlich, David Hockney, Tom Wesselman, and Gordon House.
Until recently the drawing collection has remained rather inactive. Among important additions are Ben Nicholson’s pencil drawing on oil wash ground, “Yvetot,” 1958, and the drawing and collage by David Hare, “Earth and Water,” 1977.
100 New Acquisitions: Prints and Drawings shows only a small portion of the recent volume of acquisitions.
The Department of Prints and Drawings’ next exhibition, the 21st Print National on view December 9, 1978 through February 11, 1979, will include a nation-wide selection of 150 contemporary prints by 75 artists who have not been shown in previous Brooklyn Print Nationals.