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Drawn to Drawings: The Goldman Collection

October 18, 2008–January 18, 2009
Galleries 124–127

Over the past 30 years, long-time Chicagoans and Art Institute supporters Jean and Steven Goldman have created an extraordinarily focused and impressive collection of Italian drawings from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Admired by scholars and collectors from around the world, this distinctive assembly of intimate studies, totaling over 130 works, reveals varied approaches to drawing during the 16th and 17th centuries. Working drawings, preparatory sketches, and finished compositions reflect not only the stylistic evolution of the art form but also different regional and technical approaches to the medium.

This exhibition provides viewers with the rare opportunity to study the drawings of the artists of this era in dialogue with one another. With their frequent pentimenti, or reappearance of underlying images that the artist may have tried to remove, and preparatory nature, these works offer important insights into the artistic process. According to Steven Goldman, the couple was attracted to drawings “that document the rejected decisions—sometimes the more interesting and original choices.” In fact, Jean translated this interest into her life’s work. She holds a doctorate in Italian art history from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct member of the faculty of the School of the Art Institute.

This distinguished group of works will be the first private collection to be shown in the newly renovated Jean and Steven Goldman Prints and Drawings Galleries, adjacent to the Jean and Steven Goldman Study Center.


A major catalogue written by the eminent scholar Nicholas Turner, with contributions by Jean Goldman, accompanies the exhibition. A former curator at the British Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, Turner has published extensively in the field of Italian drawings. The 288-page, hardcover volume—featuring 300 illustrations—will be distributed by Yale University Press.

Exhibition catalogue: Drawn to Italian Drawings: The Goldman Collection.


Major funding is provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.

Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino. King David, c. 1635. Promised gift of Jean and Steven Goldman.