Artists from around the world have long utilized paper in their work, either as a support for drawings, prints and watercolors; a subject of a work of art; or, as a creative material for three-dimensional work. “PAPER!” will explore all of these subjects and more. Created by a collaborative team of the Museum’s curators and the Education Department, this exhibition will teach, delight and challenge our visitors.
The earliest work in the exhibition will come from our Asian collection. This should not be a surprise as paper was first manufactured in central Asia in the mid-eighth century. The Western European tradition will comprise the majority of works in the installation, and perhaps most surprising will be the inclusions from Fashion Design. Our visitors will have the opportunity to view many of the Museum’s great treasures rarely shown because they are created on paper which is fragile to extended light exposure, thus not often shown. Other areas of exploration by the curatorial team are: why paper is used in so many ways, the idea of “art for the masses” through time; surprises as to how paper is used (such as Japanese screen painting); and why specific paper can make a difference.
The Museum’s European collection will be front and center with masterworks such as Hubert Robert’s La Maison Carrée et Monuments Antiques, Jean Marc Nattier’s Portrait of Louis XIV and Gustave Dore’s recently restored Deluge. Phoenix Art Museum also holds major, art historically important lithographic posters by Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha, Theodore Steinlen and Pierre Bonnard. Rarely shown are World War I European war bond posters. A major use of paper is in the printing process so artists as diverse as Rembrandt van Rijn, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Honoré Daumier will be included.
In the early 20th century Pablo Picasso introduced the use of collage into art which has influenced artists ever since. Picasso himself was one of the most prolific print masters of the 20th century. Many of our European works will be installed in such a way to create new dialogues between Europe and the Americas as well as with the many cultures of Asia.
Be prepared to be surprised by PAPER!