Art and Process: Drawings, Paintings, and Sculptures from the 19th-Century Collection

October 23, 2024–March 09, 2025

Centre Street Building, Level 1

The typical experience for a museum visitor involves a lot of close looking, but no amount of observation can quite reveal to a viewer how an artist arrived at their final composition. So, what becomes of the numerous sketches a painter creates before they touch oils? Or the meticulous measurements a sculptor makes before a bronze is cast?

The Walters Art Museum’s extensive collection of 19th-century works on paper offers insight into painters’ and sculptors’ artistic practice. Drawings and sketches often record the choices made by an artist, however, preparatory studies often don’t survive, and those that do are rarely exhibited due to their light sensitivity. In Art and Process: Drawings, Paintings, and Sculptures from the 19th-Century Collection, visitors can experience 60 works from the museum’s permanent collection, including 30 works on paper (pastel, graphite, charcoal, and watercolor) and 23 oil paintings, as well as works in bronze, porcelain, and terracotta, reminding us that when we view an artwork in a museum, what we’re really seeing is the endpoint in a dynamic process that may have been long, and involved many twists and turns.

Art and Process also affords visitors the opportunity to experience new acquisitions that have never before been on view at the Walters, including Two Students in the Life Room of the Heatherley School of Fine Art by Nellie Joshua (1877-1960).

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