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Sculptors’ Drawings

Working primarily in forms with volume and mass, sculptors translate this three-dimensionality into two dimensions when they put pencil to paper. A 1933 press release for a show at MoMA describes “the difference between drawings made by sculptors and drawings made by painters is one of creating form through line rather than creating form through tone values.” The sculptor uses line to form volume, with or without the use of shading or color. Many sculptors make drawings during the conception of and in preparation for making a sculpture. Many also draw for the creative expression it allows in and of itself.

Our December 8 auction offers a selection of drawings by sculptors, both as preparation for a three-dimensional work, and as exploration in another media.  Ronald Bladen’s Drawing for Messenger (lot 188) and Messenger (lot 189) are examples of the former. The drawing, made on tracing paper in 1977-78, delineates the shape of the sculpture, which Bladen made in an edition of three.

Louise Nevelson’s Beyond L12 (lot 126) is an example of a drawing made for its own sake. Here Nevelson combines ink and collage on paper to create three-dimensionality on a flat support. Other drawings in the sale by sculptors include Ibram Lassaw’s Untitled (Drawing for Sculpture) (lots 124 and 125) Benni Efrat’s Untitled monotype (lot 215), Untitled (Double X) (lot 216) and Extrapolation #007 (lot 219),  Joel Shapiro’s Untitled (lot 5), and Lutte-étude pour un sculpture by Jacques Lipchitz (lot 325).

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