Helen Frankenthaler Untitled  1961

Helen Frankenthaler
Untitled  1961
Oil and coloured crayons on paper

The UBS Art Collection

This room emphasises the function of drawing for notation or narrative.

The display is the second to be selected by Tate curators from The UBS Art Collection, and explores the immense diversity of drawing as an artistic practice. While this room focuses on drawing as a representational or narrative medium, the other two rooms also look at the process of mark-making.

Drawing serves as a primary means for observation or imagination. Since ancient times it has been used to represent imagined stories. In the western tradition it is seen as a way of recording impressions of the outside world, often with an emphasis on a scrutinising realism that was only partly displaced with the invention of photography. R. B. Kitaj’s The Poet Writing, for example, captures its subject absorbed in vivid movement, while Lucian Freud’s searching examination of himself achieves a striking intensity. At the same time, drawing allows the artist to explore and sometimes imaginatively embellish that reality. Philip Guston’s self-portrait under a Ku Klux Klan hood seems closer to the fanciful wit of a newspaper cartoonist than to traditional ideas of realism. In its own way, however, it is as thoughtful and questioning as any self-portrait. This imaginative freedom is even more evident in the gleefully satirical drawings of Rosemarie Trockel, which deliberately embrace distortion.

Works on display

Franz Kline 1910–1962
Born and worked USA
Study for Black & White #1 c.1952
Gouache and ink on paper mounted on board
The UBS Art Collection

Alighiero Boetti 1940–1994
Born and worked Italy
Aerei 1978
Ballpoint pen on paper mounted on canvas
The UBS Art Collection

Willem de Kooning 1904–1997
Born Netherlands, worked USA
Untitled c.1950
Pastel and charcoal on paper
The UBS Art Collection

Joel Fisher 1947
Born and works USA
Untitled (Drawing No 1) 1988–9
Graphite and coloured pencil on handmade paper
The UBS Art Collection

Helen Frankenthaler 1928
Born and works USA
Untitled 1961
Oil and coloured crayons on paper
The UBS Art Collection