This year-long exhibition will focus on the extensive collection of Old Master Drawings donated in 1988 to the Albany Museum of Art by Randolph Shaffer, Jr. The drawings in this collection include many sophisticated preliminary studies required to perform a masterwork of a painting.
These drawings are a body of casual field notes, a glimpse into the artist’s thoughts, observations, and impressions. Drawings, on purpose, are smaller samples of a larger instance of work, meant to be viewed in close range.
Furthermore, these drawings are, by their nature, a more intimate experience in which viewers can see the little imperfections of the figures and last-minute decisions scrawled in with pencil or ink pen.
Shaffer was born in Albany in 1914. He became an avid collector of prints during his service in World War II when he was stationed in Paris and London. The drawings in this collection are sourced from various European artists, many of whom are lesser-known or unknown, and were collected during Shaffer’s time abroad. The drawings included in this exhibition represent a selection of the approximately 150 drawings that Shaffer donated.
The selections include some of his personal notes on the works, which he painstakingly examined for higher artistic quality. Shaffer believed the quality of the drawings was more important than acquiring the name of a well-known artist.
This exhibition also will provide potential donors with a unique opportunity to be more directly involved with the long-term care of the AMA’s Permanent Collection. Out of the approximately 150 drawings in the Shaffer Collection, there are about 90 works that have not been framed.