Great Illustrations: Drawings and Books from the Walters Collection

This exhibition explores the variety of ways in which 19th-century artists approached the art of illustration. It features seldom-seen drawings, watercolors and books from the permanent collection of the Walters Art Museum, including drawings for Gustave Doré’s Holy Bible (1866) and Paul Gavarni’s lively sketches of the London underworld. French, American and British artists’ responses to the works of William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Jonathan Swift join the volumes in which they were published.

Paul Gavarni, ca. 1863, watercolor with graphite underdrawing and white heightening on cream, moderately thick, slightly textured wove paper, 9 1/4 x 6 7/16 in., The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (37.1482)

With the birth of lithography and the widespread use of steel and wood engraving, the 19th century saw an explosion in the art of illustration. Illustrated newspapers, magazines and literature, aimed at both adults and children, became more widely available than ever before. For the first time the very latest images by the most fashionable artists could be owned and enjoyed by people at all levels of society.

This mass circulation of images also encouraged collectors to place new value on exceptional and personal expressions, seeking out illustrated autographs and assembling albums of sketches. The 15 works in this exhibition reveal both the popular art of published illustrations and the unique images sought by collectors.

July 31–October 10, 2010

Drawings Gallery, Fourth Floor, The Walters Art Museum,
600 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Admission is free. Hours are Wednesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

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