The five sketchbooks and twenty-two single drawings catalogued in this volume, many of them for the first time, are among the more than 2000 works of art collected by Robert Lehman and his father, Philip Lehman, that since 1975 have been housed in the Robert Lehman Wing of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Robert Lehman acquired most of these American drawings, which range in date from the late nineteenth century to after 1960, in the decade before he died in 1969. The deft and fascinating watercolors in Maurice Prendergast's Large Boston Public Garden Sketchbook, all reproduced here in full color, are the highlights of this collection. Also of great interest are a book of 140 sketches, never before published, that Prendergast made in the parks and on the boulevards of Paris in the 1890s and three of his watercolors and a figure drawing from the early 1900s, as well as a later watercolor by his brother and collaborator, Charles Prendergast. The catalogue opens with a small pencil drawing by Whistler that can be dated to 1901, when he traveled to Corsica to escape the London winter. Another sketchbook records Robert Henri's trip to Spain in 1906, and yet another contains drawings by the young Marjorie Organ, whom Henri married in 1908. George Luks and William Glackens, who with Maurice Prendergast and Robert Henri were part of the group later known as The Eight, are also represented, as is their friend James Preston. Among the more recent works in the collection is a sketchbook that David Levine filled with his impressions of Europe in 1960, a series of quick but astute sketches drawn by a master of caricature.
Carol Clark is Professor of Fine Arts and American Studies at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is co-author, with Nancy Mowll Mathews and Gwendolyn Owens, of Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Charles Prendergast: A Catalogue Raisonné (Munich, 1990).