Traces of the Hand: Master Drawings from the Collection of Frederick and Lucy S. Herman
About the Exhibition
Avid collectors since their college days, Frederick and Lucy S. Herman spent over fifty years building an impressive collection of European and American drawings that they generously donated to The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia for the instruction of students. This exhibition of seventy drawings from their collection celebrates the Hermans’ achievement as discriminating collectors, highlighting areas in which the collection excels and which clearly correspond to their tastes and interests. Although the drawings in this show range in date from about 1525 to 1945 and represent a variety of artistic periods, the exhibition reveals one characteristic that unites them: their superior quality and visual interest. This exhibition also permits the publication of this online catalogue of the results of student research on these drawings, carried out in seminars I have taught on the history and connoisseurship of drawings and prints. This research by both graduate and undergraduate students has resulted in new attributions and new identifications of subjects, and it has led students to a deeper appreciation of the varied purposes of drawings, as well as enhanced their understanding of the role of drawing within an individual artist’s creative process.
The exhibition is organized around a number of themes. Among these are the qualities of specific drawing media and techniques, like chalk, pen and ink, wash, and charcoal, and the highly varied functions of drawings. Indeed, the works exhibited here include rapid informal sketches, studies for paintings, copies recording a design, and drawings made as finished works of art. One drawing on view was made as a forgery of another artist’s work. In addition, drawings are grouped by general subjects and themes that highlight the rich variety of artists’ exploitation of media and techniques in developing their subjects.
One of the pleasures of the study of drawings involves the way they record and reveal the hand of the artist at various stages in the creative process. In contrast to paintings and sculptures, which are usually more highly finished, drawings record the movements of the artist’s hand, and through these traces of the artist’s touch, we can decipher hand, eye, and imagination coordinating in the intensity of the creative moment itself.
This catalogue is based largely on student research and writing produced in relation to undergraduate and graduate seminars on the history and connoisseurship of drawings and prints that I taught at the University of Virginia from 2005 to 2012. All student work for this catalogue has been revised and edited, and in many cases two or more students worked on a drawing or its catalogue entry. At the end of each catalogue entry, the students whose work contributed to the research or the writing up of the drawing are listed. The last name below each drawing is the student most responsible for the final form of the catalogue entry itself.
The contributions of a number of students deserve special mention. Katherine Baker, a graduate student in Art and Architectural History, wrote a number of the entries and was also very important in the initial phase of inventorying the collection, planning the exhibition, and selecting the drawings. Her work is still evident some years later in the layout of the exhibition itself. Another graduate student, John Hawley, edited, revised, or rewrote about one-third of the catalogue entries. His contributions proved invaluable both in re-thinking the attributions of a number of drawings and in the curatorial rigor and professionalism he brought to his work. Katelyn Hobbs took my seminar as an undergraduate; more recently, as a museum staff member, she edited the text of the entire catalogue and wrote a number of the introductory wall texts for the exhibition. These texts are included in the online catalogue at the beginning of each section. Her contributions also involved writing and rewriting many of the wall texts for individual drawings, making the show accessible to a wider public.
The museum’s collections manager, Jean Lancaster, and assistant registrars, Nicole Anastasi and Rachael Salisbury, provided essential support to my seminars and worked painstakingly to make the label and catalogue information as accurate and consistent as possible. Rachael Eller assisted in both the registrar’s and curators’ offices with the careful editing and production of the catalogue texts and exhibition labels. Finally, I would like to thank William Auten for his skill in crafting the online exhibition catalogue. His design makes the drawings themselves accessible to all, and allows the results of so much student research to provide a rich historical context for the drawings.
Lawrence O. Goedde
Adjunct Curator of Prints and Drawings and Professor of Art History
McIntire Department of Art
The Fralin Museum of Art’s programming is made possible by the generous support of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of The Fralin Museum of Art Volunteer Board; the Arts Enhancement Fund, sponsored by the Vice Provost for the Arts: fostering access + innovation; the McIntire Department of Art; the Denison and Louise Hatch Americana Preservation Fund; Albemarle Magazine; and Ivy Publications LLC’s Charlottesville Welcome Book.
American, b. 1921
Portrait of Frederick Herman
Oil on canvas
Lent by The Frederick and Lucy S. Herman Foundation, 2005.EL.1.252
American, b. 1921
Portrait of Lucy S. Herman
Oil on canvas
Lent by The Frederick and Lucy S. Herman Foundation, 2005.EL.1.251
About This Online Catalogue
This online catalogue supplements the physical exhibition of Traces of the Hand, allowing The Fralin's patrons, the University of Virginia's broad family (scholars, students, staff, and supporters), and indeed the world at large to visit time and time again the collection of prints and drawings generously gifted by the Hermans. The navigation bar at the left reflects how the exhibition is laid out: starting with Functions, moving into the various themes, and ending with Drawing Media. Of course, as in the real world, the virtual world allows visitors to begin and end where they please. So, enjoy your stay, click around, and relish these wonderful objects.
In addition to the aforementioned themes of the exhibition, an alphabetized index of the artists, along with titles and accession numbers, is provided below.
Finally, were it not for the following individuals, this online catalogue would not have been possible: Professor Larry Goedde; Director of The Fralin Bruce Boucher; Curatorial Assistant Katelyn Hobbs; Assistant Registrar Rachael Salisbury; and Collections Assistant Rachael Eller.
Digitial Resources Coordinator
The Fralin Museum of Art
University of Virginia