19th-Century Classical Drawings and Their Contemporary Counterparts


Some artists and universities are keeping the 19th-century dream alive. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts hails from a tradition of life drawing made famous by former Academy student and controversial teacher Thomas Eakins. The contemplative graphite drawings of Rob Matthews explore contemporary subjects with the hand of an artist centuries older. The New York Academy of Art also emphasizes a classical approach to drawing and painting, presented in their first exhibit of 2016.

Now and Then: Drawings from the 19th Century to the Present highlights 19th-century French academic artworks from luminaries like Gustave Doré alongside the works of contemporary artists. The biblical and epic meets the hyperreal, but the technical prowess and attention to detail are the same.

Now and Then: Drawings from the 19th Century to the Present opens on January 19 and runs through March 6. There’s a talk with the curators and three artists in the show on January 27.

Steven Assael Julie Facing, 2013 graphite and crayon on paper, 14 x 11 inches, courtesy of the artist and Forum Gallery

Leon-Joseph-Florentine BonnatStudy for La Lutte de Jacob, 1876Pencil and black chalk on paper20 ¾ x 14 ½ inchesDahesh Museum of Art. 2002.30

Paul ChenavardLast JudgmentCharcoal on paper83 7/8 x 67 11/16 inches© Dahesh Museum of Art, 2001.7

Monica Cook Extra Body, 2015 watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper, 8.5 x 11 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Postmasters Gallery, New York

Paul Gustave DoréMassacre of the Innocents, ca. 1869-72Pen, ink and ink wash heightened with white on paper22 x 33 inches© Dahesh Museum of Art

Inka Essenhigh Dance Party, 2015, watercolor on paper, 44 x 38 inches, from the collection of Kevin Jennings

Oscar FehrerHead of a WomanCharcoal on paper15 x 12 inches© Dahesh Museum of Art, 2001.2

Audrey Flack Cupcake Angel, 2016, Prismacolor and pastel on paper, 44 x 34 inches

Jean-Pierre Roy When He Cries Enough, He Dies, 2016, graphite on paper, 34 x 26 inches