“Works on Paper” – Exhibition Closing Reception

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 3:00pm-6:00pm
Essie Green Galleries
419A Convent Avenue
(212) 368-9635


“Works on Paper” is a survey exhibition of Watercolors, Drawings and Prints by Romare Bearden, Charles White, Wifredo Lam, Allen Stringfellow, Sam Gilliam, Phoebe Beasley, Geraldine McCullough and others.

There is something about watercolor that attracts avid interest. Perhaps it’s the luminosity of the medium, or freshness of its effects. A watercolorist walks a tightrope of risk, unlike the practitioner of any other medium. It is a direct and difficult medium; the effects are often created with lightning speed, and they cannot be reversed or duplicated. Many dealers feel that it’s the more sophisticated collectors who buy watercolors — those familiar enough with art to be able to appreciate it.

Great drawings are often astonishing in their degree of energy and spontaneity (Rembrandt comes to mind), but spontaneity is not required. The artist’s ability to use the most humble means of expression to communicate a compelling idea or emotion distinguishes great drawing from ordinary ones. Without skill, great ideas can go for naught; without ideas, great skill can go unappreciated.

“Matisse makes a drawing, then he makes a copy of it. He recopies it five times, ten times, always clarifying the line. He’s convinced that the last, the most stripped down, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and in fact, most of the time, it was the first. In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.” — Pablo Picasso.

Some of the greatest and most valuable images in the history of world art stem from printmaking. Widespread confusion presently exists as to what exactly constitutes an original work of graphic art. The most common belief is that a print is a reproduction of a painting for sale. It is important to observe that an artistic print is an original work of art. Briefly, a print is a multiple image which has been transferred to a surface from a matrix, such as a plate, wood block, stone, glass or screen. Original prints are often referred to by the printing technique that was used to produce them: Etching, woodcut, lithograph, silk-screen, mezzotint, aquatint and many other wonderful mediums of graphic art.

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