Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery 214
Admission is free.
The Cleveland-born, London-trained artist George Copeland Ault (1891–1948) resists easy categorization. Although the meticulous geometries and hard edges that characterize his best-known paintings have often aligned him with the Precisionist movement, Ault actually explored numerous styles throughout his career.
Ault on Paper spans student work in a realist vein to abstractions made in the year of the artist’s untimely death. The drawings and watercolors on view not only reveal a range of styles and subject matter, but also shed light on the artist’s working methods. Altogether these sheets offer an intriguing retrospective of Ault’s poetic vision and independent spirit.
Donald Lokuta, donor of a generous gift from which this installation is drawn, recognized the revelatory quality of Ault’s art on paper: “I have always believed that you can understand George Ault the man and the artist more completely by looking at his works on paper. The drawings show him as a very inquisitive person, always willing to experiment. . . .The drawings show a curious mind; a person who was searching and always willing to try something new.”
The Nelson-Atkins’ American collection has some 600 works on paper by many of the country’s most revered artists. Installations in this gallery rotate every six months in order to display the variety of the collection and to protect it from overexposure to damaging light. Showcasing a compendium of media, techniques, styles and themes, these rotating installations convey the engaging possibilities of art on paper.
Images: Top: George Copeland Ault (1891-1948), Surreal Landscape, 1946. Graphite on tracing paper, 13 ¼ x 16 5/8 in. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; gift of Donald Lokuta, 2010.66.13. Inset: George Copeland Ault (1891-1948), Untitled, 1948. Graphite and colored crayon on paper, 12 x 9 in. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; gift of Donald Lokuta, 2010.66.16