Spotlight: See Intimate Drawings by Modern Masters Including Picasso, Miró, and Twombly in a New Online Exhibition


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What You Need to Know: Drawing is said to be the most revealing medium, offering insights into artists’ thought processes and decision-making. If that holds true, the current online exhibition “​Contact Sheets: Presentation Drawings by Major Modern and Contemporary Artists,” with Sylvan Cole Gallery, is sure to offer clues into the creative considerations of titans of modern and contemporary art. The exhibition includes 50 drawings created by some 41 artists between the years 1960 and 2010, with Pablo Picasso, born in 1881, and William Kentridge, born in 1955, bookending the exhibition.  

Why We Like It: The works in this varied exhibition are at turns playful and fraught, hurriedly scrawled and delicately inked—and each, interestingly, made as a gift for someone. Many of these drawings bear the name of the intended recipient, the artists’ handwriting—and often signatures—adding another intriguing dimension to the works. The drawings offer off-the-cuff imaginings, such as Philip Guston’s dashed-off self-portrait in the act of drawing himself, or a charmingly meandering ink drawing by Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita of his favorite subject—a cat. 

According to the Gallery:I entitled this show ‘Contact Sheets’ because each drawing immortalizes a moment of contact between an artist and an admirer, who might be a friend, an acquaintance, or a cheeky autograph hound.…These drawings are usually smaller than those created in the line of duty and are executed more quickly. The artist will offer up an unfiltered burst of spontaneous expression, often leaving behind aesthetic preoccupations and ambitions—and, obviously, concerns about saleability. Titles—an artifice primarily of interest to dealers, museums, and scholars—have no place here. As the drawings tend to be small, the artist’s signature is large, in relative terms. Often the signature becomes an important element in the drawing: sometimes even the dominant element.n studio drawings, the signature is almost always quite literally an afterthought, added once the drawing is complete,” said Bill Cole.

Browse works from the exhibition below.

Joan Miró
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Joan Miró, Untitled (1978). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole.

Joan Miró, (1978). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole.


Cy Twombly
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Cy Twombly, Untitled (1987). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole Gallery.

Cy Twombly, (1987). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole Gallery.


Philip Guston
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Philip Guston, Untitled (1971). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole Gallery.

Philip Guston, (1971). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole Gallery.

Sam Francis
(ca. 1992)
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Sam Francis, Untitled (ca. 1992). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole Gallery.

Sam Francis, (ca. 1992). Courtesy of Sylvan Cole Gallery.


“​​Contact Sheets: Presentation Drawings by Major Modern and Contemporary Artists” is on view online with Sylvan Cole Gallery through October 31, 2022.


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