Saturday, 13 April 2013


 Here is a drawing with attitude:

This working drawing by Adolph Menzel (1815 - 1905) is an astonishing ballet of hand and eye.  Look at the speed and clarity with which he captures the most telling details of a military coat:

Sharp realism combined with abstract design

These long, sweeping lines show Menzel's confidence:

But mostly I like Menzel's attitude toward this drawing.  Rather than place it on a shelf to be admired, he marks it up with notes as if he were a master carpenter plying his trade.  The notes are part of the artistry of the sketch:

Contrast Menzel's empty coat with this far more famous empty robe series by pop artist Jim Dine:

Dine's "fine art" pictures of empty robes are treated with reverence and sell at auction for over $100,000.  But I have no doubt that Menzel's working sketch is the superior work of art.