This past summer, Boston collector Dorothy Braude Edinburg presented the Art Institute with an extraordinary gift of more than 600 prints, 190 drawings, 150 Chinese and Korean ceramics, and her collection of Japanese illustrated books. Given in memory of her parents, Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude, who instilled in her artistic interests and high standards, these remarkable works are a landmark gift—not only for the museum but for all of Chicago. For the past 22 years, Edinburg has worked in active partnership with Art Institute curators both to bring the city the great works she has gathered throughout her life and to target and acquire new works for the museum’s collection.
This exhibition features 97 drawings purchased by Edinburg for the museum since 1991, a treasure trove of works on paper from the 16th through the mid-20th century. Among the early Italian, French, and Spanish pieces is a rare, moving wash drawing, Sleeping Christ Child, by the popular Baroque artist Bartolomé Murillo. A highlight of the early Northern schools, one of Edinburg’s special interests, is Jacob Jordaens’s eloquent Jacob and Esau. Works by Constable and Karl Friedrich Schinkel crown the assortment of British and German 19th-century works, while the 19th-century French collection boasts rich representation of Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet. And finally the 20th-century masters on view include Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Giorgio Morandi, Jean Metzinger, Pablo Picasso, and several German Expressionists. Chosen with Edinburg’s unrelenting standards of condition, research, and scholarship, these drawings both effectively represent the essence of an artist’s achievement and stand as significant, independent statements.
Speaking of her decades-long experience working with curators from the Department of Prints and Drawings, Edinburg remarked, “We have had tremendous fun together, enjoying the thrill of the chase and the entire process of determining the authenticity, condition, attribution, and importance of a drawing.” That department—and many others across the museum—have enjoyed this rich relationship as well; not only has Edinburg greatly enhanced many collections but she has invigorated the museum with her acquisitive passion and enthusiastic spirit. With this most recent gift, intended as a public resource to inspire others, Chicago too shall be forever transformed by Edinburg’s keen eye and great generosity.