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Sketch for Abstract Composition

Blanche Lazzell

American Art

Blanche Lazzell made this group of objects—part of a larger suite of fourteen works—as an artistic exercise while studying in Paris with the Cubist Albert Gleizes. They provide a fascinating glimpse into Lazzell’s process of transforming a townscape into an abstract composition. The graphite drawings show her progression from a relatively representational image of an urban plaza with buildings, stairways, and trees to ever more reductive, abstract shapes that she rearranged and filled with different patterns and tones, culminating in the watercolor. This kind of experimentation allowed Lazzell to explore the expressive possibilities of abstraction, in keeping with Gleizes’s theories that the juxtaposition of flat forms—through their relation to each other and the paper surface—provides a new way to signify spatial depth.
MEDIUM Graphite on cream, thin, smooth paper
DATES 1924
DIMENSIONS Sheet: 10 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. (27 x 21 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. Abram Kanof and Theodore Keel, by exchange, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Dick S. Ramsay Fund
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Blanche Lazzell (American, 1879–1956). Sketch for Abstract Composition, 1924. Graphite on cream, thin, smooth paper, Sheet: 10 5/8 x 8 1/4 in. (27 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Abram Kanof and Theodore Keel, by exchange, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, and Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 2006.43.2. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006.43.2_after_treatment_PS4.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2006.43.2_after_treatment_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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RIGHTS STATEMENT © Estate of Blanche Lazzell
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