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: John De Laittre Memorial Collection


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In addition to the John Washburn Memorial Room, a second important collection given as a memorial of another of Minneapolis's distinguished citizens, the late John De Laittre, is now being shown to the public for the first time. As announced earlier in the year, this collection has been presented by Mrs. Horace Ropes, the daughter of Mr. De Laittre, and comprises a collection of over fifty modern drawings and watercolors, which will be added to from time to time as opportunity offers. In giving this collection as a memorial, Mrs. Ropes had in mind the fact that sound drawing is the foundation of all good work in the field of the pictorial arts, and that a full appreciation of the importance of drawing, by students and amateurs, could best be brought about by the establishment of this collection.At present, drawings by English and French artists predominate, conspicuous among the former being a figure of a woman by Augustus Johns, probably a study for his large canvas now in the Quinn Collection in New York. Others of importance are "The Trinket Seller," a water color sketch by Sir William Orpen, a caricature of Arthur Pinero, the playwright, by Max Beerbohm, whose exhibition at the Leicester Galleries in June aroused such controversy because of caricature of the members of the royal family, the "Head of a Girl," illustrated below, by George Clausen, distinguished critic and artist, "Venetian Fishing Boats," a richly colored watercolor by William Walcott, painter, architect and etcher, whose work is especially interesting to students because of its sound construction and free execution.A group of drawings by more conservative artists is also included, valuable in showing different methods of treatment or in illustrating the variety of qualities of line. Among these are studies by Henry Lamb, F. Ernst Jackson, Sir Edward James Poynter, William Etty, Richard Beavis, Sir William Blake Richmond, Leon Underwood and others.A series of landscape drawings and watercolors have been selected to illustrate the development in this field throughout the XIX century. Beginning with "A View of Castel di Cesare, Rome" by Richard Cooper, a delicate wash drawing in sepia, one follows the change from the meticulously drawn scenes which in the first half of the XIX century took the place of the photographs of the present day, to the more broad and colorful landscapes by Alfred Parsons and other contemporary painters. Similarly, there is a series of portrait heads beginning with the handsome "Reverend Haslewood" by George Henry Harlow and ending with a distinguished portrait of "John Drinkwater" by William Rothstein.In the French group, Rodin is exemplified by a typical blind drawing, so-called, because in making the drawing it is said he looked only at the model and not at the drawing itself, which represents a "Nude," and is washed in with delicate color. A characteristic Forain is the "L'envoi aux mobilises" showing a saddened French bourgeoise sending a package to the front. A charcoal and a pen and ink drawing by Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, the "French Sapper" by Constantin Guys, a sketch by Gavarni, show the wide scope of XIX-century work. Several etchers are also represented, such as Adolphe Beaufrere, Eugene Bejot, Jacques Beurdeley, Jean Frelaut and Alexandre Lunois. The modern tendency is also shown by watercolors of distinctly different character, one "La Merveilleuse" by George Barbier, and the other "La point de Beauté" by Vergé-Sarrat.In general these drawings exhibit that spontaneous character which results from the rapid recording of an artist's first impression of the subject and so have a vitality often lost in the more complete work. For students, and all others interested in the graphic arts, such a collection is invaluable, and Mrs. Ropes' gift is one which marks an important new development in the history of the Institute.Referenced Works of Art
  1. Drawing by George Bellows. In the John De Laittre Memorial Collection
  2. Study by George Clausen. In the John De Laittre Memorial Collection
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Source: "John De Laittre Memorial Collection," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 12, no. 9 (December, 1923): 71-72.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009