Tuesday, May 31, 2005


"Portrait," Chaim Koppelman's work included in Disegno* at the current 180th Annual Exhibition at the National Academy of Design

*To draw, delineate, mark out, sketch in outline, or otherwise give visual expression to, as a conception or a plan, especially for the first time, or to serve as a pattern or model for a more finished study."

(This is the description of the exhibition's purpose; and on view are both the preparatory works and the finished pictures.)

Chaim Koppelman shows his early drawings and the finished "Portrait" --and the person being drawn is not stated. It is simply "portrait"--of an unnamed person. Several states of the aquatint were submitted, and then the final portrait. The artist says "I wrote on the proof suggestions of what I wanted to change, to do better, and worked with on the proof, before a final proof was taken, the final state.

The interplay of opposites, as Aesthetic Realism describes them, can be studied so valuably here because the unconscious impulsions, and the decisions--both unconscious and conscious--are on display. In the work of every artist there is a desire to welcome the unknown, and to join that with what is known--including techniques of the past and newly found. We look at some-thing mysterious and at the same time visibly "worked out," in the artist's mind and on the surface.

This exhibition opened on May 25th and will be on view through July 5th. It is a first of its kind and provides a view of how a work comes into being. The National Academy Museum is on Fifth Avenue and 90th Street.

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