Family donates Lichtenstein art

13 drawings given to D.C. gallery in Meyerhoff's memory

April 09, 2005|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

The family of Roy Lichtenstein has given the National Gallery of Art in Washington more than a dozen drawings by the late pop artist in memory of Jane Meyerhoff, the Baltimore collector who died last year after having promised, with her husband, Robert, to donate their important collection of late 20th-century art to the museum.

All 13 of the drawings in the Lichtenstein family gift are directly related to 11 of the artist's paintings in the Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection, a renowned collection of postwar art.

The Meyerhoffs began giving parts of their collection to the National Gallery in 1986. In 1987, they announced they would donate their entire collection to the museum.

"This is a remarkably generous gift from the Lichtenstein family and Foundation to the Gallery and an especially thoughtful tribute to Jane Meyerhoff, who was renowned for her philanthropy and love of modern art," Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery, said in a statement. "Each of the drawings is splendid in its own way. No other museum has so many Lichtenstein drawings directly related to his paintings in its collection."

Lichtenstein, who along with Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg was one of the pioneering figures in the pop art movement of the 1960s, created whimsical paintings, sculptures and drawings based on such everyday objects as comic books and advertising images. He died in 1997 at age 73.

The drawings, which were given by Lichtenstein's widow, Dorothy, and two sons, David and Mitchell, will be on view from April 23 through July 24 in the East Building Study Center gallery. Two Lichtenstein paintings related to the drawings, Entablature (1975) and Painting with Statue of Liberty (1983), will also be on view in the East Building West Terrace galleries through the summer.

With the addition of the Lichtenstein family gift, the National Gallery owns four paintings, 20 drawings, 320 prints, eight sculptures and one unbound volume of text, etchings and aquatints by the artist.

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