Arts Center acquisition: "Wandering Thoughts" | Rock Candy

Arts Center acquisition: "Wandering Thoughts"

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Wandering Thoughts
  • "Wandering Thoughts"

A graphite drawing on pink prepared paper by Joseph Edward Southall (1861-1944) has been acquired by the Arkansas Arts Center in honor of Rosemary "Missy" Wright Anderson, a past president of the board of trustees and long-time supporter who died last year. The work was purchased in part by Chucki and Curt Bradbury.

"Wandering Thoughts" is the first Southall in the Arts Center's permanent collection. The pre-Raphaelite work is one of only a few on paper, Arts Center director Todd Herman said in a press release. His comment on the work:

“Drawing on paper that has been treated with a thin, colored gesso ground requires a very high level of skill,” said Herman. “Lines must be precise since errors cannot be erased nor changes made without smudging and ruining the gesso ground layer. Not only is this a beautiful drawing, but it adds depth to our collection in terms of quality and technique.

The drawing is on exhibit in the Winthrop Rockefeller Foyer.

Full release on the jump.

Arkansas Arts Center Acquires Work in Memory of Missy Anderson

(LITTLE ROCK, AR) – The Arkansas Arts Center announces a new acquisition to the permanent collection. The Arkansas Arts Center acquired the drawing, Wandering Thoughts by 19th-century British artist Joseph Southall. The drawing was purchased in honor of Rosemary “Missy” Wright Anderson with funds donated to the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation by friends and family in her memory.

The Arkansas Arts Center lost one of its most dedicated champions with the passing of Missy Anderson in September 2011. Anderson was a past president of the board of trustees and an honorary life trustee of the Arkansas Arts Center. She began her volunteer work at the Arkansas Arts Center as a docent, leading tours of current exhibitions. She also spent several years preparing a catalogue of the museum’s permanent collection.

“Missy was one of the first people I met in Little Rock, and we had an immediate connection,” said Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Todd Herman. “Her enthusiasm, intelligence and obvious passion for the Arts Center was a beacon for this institution, and her voice and energy still resonate throughout these spaces.”

The drawing Wandering Thoughts is of an anonymous woman, beautiful, poised and confident. The technique is unusual—graphite (or possibly metalpoint) on pink prepared paper.

“Drawing on paper that has been treated with a thin, colored gesso ground requires a very high level of skill,” said Herman. “Lines must be precise since errors cannot be erased nor changes made without smudging and ruining the gesso ground layer. Not only is this a beautiful drawing, but it adds depth to our collection in terms of quality and technique. This is our first work by Southall in the collection and one of only a few works on paper by a Pre-Raphaelite artist.”

The artist, Joseph Southall, was a Quaker and a pacifist who began his career as an architect in Birmingham, England, studying art on the side. Southall was exposed to the philosophies of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Arts and Crafts movement early in his career. After travelling to Italy in the 1870s, Southall began working in a style derived from early Renaissance masters such as Benozzo Gozzoli. He was an artist of meticulous skill, demonstrated in this sensitive drawing. The title Wandering Thoughts indicates Southall’s adoption of the romantic themes often used by the Pre-Raphaelites.

The drawing was unveiled on May 8, 2012, and will be on view in the Winthrop Rockefeller Foyer through July.

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