William Beckman: Drawings, 1967-2013

May 17 - September 7, 2014

  • Untitled (Diana and Deidra)
    Silver point
    12 x 10 in.
    Private Collection

  • Bull Series 8 (Cody)
    108 x 90 in.
    Promised Gift, Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA

  • Separation No. 4
    91 x 80 in.
    Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV

  • Man-Woman II
    90 x 70 in.
    Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, CT

  • Smiling Self Portrait
    Silver point
    43 x 34 in.
    Private Collection

 As one of the leading realist artists working in the United States, William Beckman is celebrated for the intimacy and emotional power of his figurative drawings. In the first major retrospective of his works on paper, this exhibition explores Beckman’s primary subject matter: the individual.

The nearly fifty portraits run the gamut of captivating expressions from self-possession, to rebellion, and vulnerability. This exhibition is curated from both private and public collections and reflects the Columbus Museum’s commitment to promoting, exhibiting, and collecting American drawings.

Beckman’s inspiration comes from diverse sources, which include northern European painting, the writings of Russian author Nikolai Gogol, and the farm on which he grew up in western Minnesota. Throughout his career as an artist he has examined human relationships—the quiet of solitude, the intimacy of marriage, and the complexity of gender issues. Unlikely as it may seem at first, these issues are carried over in the recent survey of rodeo bulls. Often working in series and experimenting with scale, Beckman’s process is at the fore, producing compelling images that engage the viewer directly.

Accompanying the exhibition is a 112-page, full-color catalogue of Beckman’s work, as well as archival photos from his childhood and college days. The catalogue,  (published by D Giles, Ltd., London), William Beckman: Drawings, 1967–2013 includes an interview with the artist as well as an exploratory essay by noted scholar Carter Ratcliff. The exhibition will travel to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock in late 2014 after it closes in Columbus.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous funding of the support of the Hardaway Endowment Fund, the Edward Shorter Bequest Fund and A Friend of the Columbus Museum. 

For exhibition related programs, see below:


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