Defining a "Drawing"
My first art world job was working for a secondary market gallery that specializes in works on paper, where I was taught that if it's unique and created through the application of some medium on or to paper (whether ink, graphite, paint, or collage or whatever), it's a "drawing."
Recently in the gallery, however, we discussed whether images made from oil paint on paper were "paintings" or "drawings." Again, I was taught to call them "drawings," but the artist called them "paintings" and I fully understand why. Still, MoMA seems to validate my previous boss's point of view (not sure really):
However, The Guardian offers a review of a "drawing" exhibition today that notes the issue is far from settled:
One of the most comprehensive collections of twentieth-century drawings anywhere, MoMA's holdings bring together more than 6,000 works on
paper. These include a historical range of drawings in pencil, ink, and
charcoal, as well as watercolors, gouaches, collages, and works in mixed
The selection pinpoints one or two prevailing trends, and makes some challenging assumptions about what a drawing might be. Matisse defined it as "putting a line around an idea", for example; while for Roger Ackling it meant scorching an imprint with the aid of a magnifying glass.So would you help us please? What is a "drawing"? What's not a "drawing"? Can it even be defined, or do we simply let the artist tell us what the category is. And if so, who's going to tell the curators at MoMA?