The Department of Prints & Drawings keeps up an active program of thematic exhibitions, but it is also the MIA’s hidden treasure chest. At any given time, only a fraction of the museum’s collection of nearly 40,000 prints and 3,000 drawings is on view in the galleries. Nearly all, however, are available to the public in the comfort of the Herschel V. Jones Print Study Room. To prepare for your visit, please make an appointment by phone (612) 870-3105 or by e-mail (email@example.com).
Many of the greatest European and American artists from the Renaissance to the present are represented, often in considerable depth and quality. Among the highlights are old master prints by Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn; Jacopo de’Barbari’s amazing bird’s-eye view of Venice; a rare presentation copy of Francisco de Goya’s Los Caprichos; a fabulous monotype by William Blake; extensive holdings in nineteenth-century French and British prints and drawings, featuring artists such as James McNeill Whistler, Edgar Degas, and Félix Buhot; and outstanding twentieth-century drawings by Lovis Corinth, Egon Schiele, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Erich Heckel, Piet Mondrian, Georges Rouault, Henri Matisse, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha, Nicola Hicks, and many more. The department is building its collection of twenty-first-century prints and drawings, which is reaching ever further beyond America and Europe to other parts of the world. P&D has secured works by William Kentridge, Julie Mehretu, Mequitta Ahuja, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Chuck Close, Luis Jimenez, Cynthia Lin, Carlos Amorales, Diane Victor, and more.
There are also fascinating collections within the collection. The department has a large number of books designed and illustrated by artists, which is especially rich in works from France. Students of modern printmaking will want to explore the Vermillion Editions Limited Archival Collection, which contains examples of all the prints published by that Twin Cities press as well as preparatory drawings, proofs, and maquettes that led to the finished work. Botanical, zoological, fashion, and ornamental illustrations from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries all figure in the mix, as does a wide array of works by Minnesota and regional artists.
The Prints & Drawings Affinity Group provides a terrific opportunity to learn more about this vital field of art, to meet others with similar interests, and to help the MIA improve its ability to make art available to the public.