Three Works of Art I Would Kill to Have

It's not as if the wall space in my apartment is getting any bigger, but still, I'm always looking at works of art and murmuring, "I know just the place for you…" And for the past several years I've been particularly drawn to works on paper. The mark-making and drawing techniques used can be so unique from artist to artist. And when I look at drawings, I feel like I can relate to the artist and really understand how he or she works more than I sometimes can when looking at a finished painting. Here are a few of those drawings that inspire me and hold a place in my heart.

He was my first…

MC Escher was the first draftsman I remember being aware of as an artist. Obviously, I had seen other drawings before, but learning his name, and looking at a catalog of an artist's work—I'm pretty sure he was my first. And to a certain extent that is telling about what I hold dear in a drawing. As in Still Life with Street, I want to see something surprising and unusual in the drawings that I see, and Escher's work is definitely that, and they also always seem to blur the line between realistic work and fantasy art. There is also his incredible command of the medium. I mean, in each of his drawings, every line looks so right. The drawing techniques he employs are incredibly well executed. He's moved beyond reality to draw things that are out of this world and can trick the eye into believing, if just for a second, what his fantasy images are depicting. And his precision with his mark-making is extraordinary. The fact that this drawing is a woodcut—incredible!

Still Life with Street by MC Escher, 1937, woodcut drawing.
Still Life with Street by MC Escher, 1937, woodcut drawing.

Just haunting…

The sensitivity and beauty of Female Nude with Green Shawl Seen from Behind takes my breath away. It is so quiet and introspective from a narrative standpoint, but I also just love the way the Käthe Kollwitz drew it. The deep luscious green of the wrap at the figure's hips, the warm shadows around her, the smudges of her vertebrae and shoulder blades, and the white highlight along her collarbone—it is mesmerizing how she created something so lovely using so few marks. And I'm especially haunted by the way Kollwitz shows light on the form. Haunted because the delicacy of the glints on the figure's shoulders and the sensitive line of light that brushes her right arm–I don't think I'll ever get there. But I'm grateful to have seen it!

Female Nude with Green Shawl Seen from Behind by Käthe Kollwitz, lithograph drawing, 1903.
Female Nude with Green Shawl Seen from Behind
by Käthe
Kollwitz, lithograph drawing, 1903.

Black and white, meet kaleidoscope…

Charlotte Schulz is one of my favorite artists. The way she can use charcoal is so incredible. It is like she just breathes it on—the gradations from light to dark are that subtle. I also love the way she uses and even constructs the paper she draws on. The fact that she doesn't always create works that parallel, or are in any way hemmed in by the conventional four corners of a piece of paper is really powerful to me because it means that she is completely immersed in what she is drawing and doesn't let surface restrictions limit her work. If she wants something to jut off or fold away, she does it, even if it means altering her surface. And the way she merges different spaces together is mesmerizing and kaleidoscopic as they evolve into one another, becoming fantasy artwork that I could (and have) looked at for hours. 

The uneven intensities of Charlotte Schulz, charcoal drawing on paper, 2008-2010.
The uneven intensities of duration…by Charlotte Schulz, charcoal drawing on paper, 2008-2010.

I love looking closely at drawings like these because it seems like the artists usually reveal something of themselves in them. Drawing magazine does the same thing—deep, thoughtful analysis of drawings and showcasing artists that I always seem to be surprised and intrigued by. Whether you want classical practice and drawing techniques or inspiration from the contemporary draftsmen and -women who are working today, a subscription to Drawing brings them all to you. So you can start your drawing fantasy list, just like I have. Now if I can only get my hands on another few walls…

P.S. What did you think of my drawing choices? What drawings would you give pride of place on your walls? Leave a comment and let me know.  


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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

5 thoughts on “Three Works of Art I Would Kill to Have

  1. schultz’s work blows me away. i like best the immersion into her work and her ability to ignore the four corners…to work outside the box…not to be contained says much to me about her personality…someone i would like to meet…common feelings of stretching and growing and not letting life, age, etc. stand in the way.

  2. I’ll never forget the Käthe Kollwitz show in Washington, DC years ago. It made a massive impression on me and her work has served as a great inspiration. The picture you chose was a standout in an ocean of black and white (all beautiful), I went to that show probably half a dozen times while it was up and I was awestruck every time I stood in front of the female nude. Great choices!

  3. Courtney, your choices are fantastic. Beautiful work, you chose. I am currently in a Drawing Class, and my Instructor just brought in a book on Kathe Kollwitz, stating she was her favorite. Then you come along with this article. What a coincidence! Your tender description said it all. I need to subscribe to your Drawing Magazine. Thank you.