PRINT October 1969

The Possibilities of Drawing


AMERICAN ART, EVEN AT ITS BEST, operates under a heavy dose of draftsmanship and this draftsmanship is, historically, a combination of European Beaux-Arts and the fertile soil of the American outlook. This predisposition has endured all the way from Benjamin West to a “mainstream” artist like Andrew Wyeth (most likely considered, by upper-middle class laymen, the consummate American draftsman); moreover, it encompasses the vanguard. The greatest American art movement, Abstract Expressionism, was, by and large, a re-revolution in drawing and its practitioners were draftsmen. Willem de Kooning, the Dutch-born penultimate Abstract Expressionist, typifies the drawing premise of our first home-grown vanguard style: “De Kooning’s art is traditional and available. He is very much an ‘old master.’ His work is full of the feel of ‘real art,’ of ‘art that looks like art.’ This is because his art

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