German Drawings from the Walters’ Collection

November 20, 2010–February 13, 2011

Shortly after the Civil War began, the Walters family decamped to Europe, spending the years from 1861 to 1865 abroad. Although William Walters had begun buying American paintings and drawings as early as 1847, this period of extended travel and residence in the capitals of the 19th-century art world would be a formative influence on William and, subsequently, on his son Henry. In the autumn of 1863, William Walters, accompanied by his continental agent George Lucas, made a voyage through Germany, stopping at Cologne and Dusseldorf, where they visited the studios of prominent artists. Further trips across Europe to Vienna followed in 1864 and again in 1873. On these journeys Walters developed a taste for modern German art, characterized in the mid-19th century by clear storytelling, appealing subject matter and precise draftsmanship. William Walters purchased most of the works in this exhibition during his time in Europe. Highlights include picturesque landscapes, charming animal studies and incisive character sketches.