Artists have been drawing the figure for centuries, from carefully composed life drawings to people caught unawares at leisure or work. Though there are sometimes surprising similarities across the decades, there is also a great diversity of techniques and approaches. The majority are drawn from observation, though some are from memory or imagination; some are unfinished studies while others are finished works in their own right. Perhaps some of the most surprising examples are those from very early on in artists’ careers, such as a self-portrait by Richard Hamilton from 1938, the carefully drawn Mrs Ash Asleep by Howard Hodgkin from 1952, Peter Blake’s Portrait of a Man from 1950, and Eduardo Paolozzi’s Drawings from Rembrandt, 1945.
This exhibition brings together some of the finest drawings in the Arts Council Collection, with work on display from Moore, Hepworth, Lowry and Hockney. Beginning in the early twentieth century with Gwen John and the intricate patterns of Harold Gilman. Mid-twentieth-century works include the whimsical lines of George Fullard and John Golding and the bold markings of Frank Auerbach and John Bratby. The story is brought up to the present with the imaginary figures of Charles Avery and Mimei Thompson. The exhibition will also include new works acquired in the forthcoming year and some key loans from the British Council Collection.