THE J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Calif., has long been
considered the best-endowed museum in the world; the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York, the finest in this country. In a
bicoastal exchange, the two titans have collaborated on two
beautiful drawing exhibitions simultaneously on view at the New
York and Malibu museums.
The first master drawing exhibition the Getty has ever hosted
from another museum, "Drawings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, from
the Metropolitan Museum in New York," features 25 sheets from the
Met's impressive trove of this 18th-century Italian painter and
In a wonderful artistic quid pro quo, the Met is concurrently
hosting a sample of over 100 drawings selected from the Getty's
impressive holdings of 15th- to 19th-century drawings titled,
"Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum."
Guided by the fine eye of George Goldner, Getty's curator of
drawings, the show is on view at the Met through Aug. 8, and then
travels to the Royal Academy in London, where it will be shown Oct.
29 to Jan. 23, 1994.
In the last 10 years, the Getty has built a 400-piece Old Master
drawing collection so strong that there has seemed no need for the
Getty to host touring exhibitions of other drawings.
In an interview from his part-time home in New York, Dr. Goldner
noted, "We'd been thinking about the Getty drawings traveling to
New York for some time.
"The purpose of the show was to present New York and Europe with
what we've been able to accomplish to date. In the process, the
idea of an exchange developed, and it worked out very fluidly, very
comfortably," he says.
Tiepolo was a logical choice for such a collaboration as the
Met's holdings of drawings by this master are among the most
comprehensive in the United States. Active from roughly 1700 to
1770, Tiepolo is regarded by art historians as one of the finest
Italian painters and draftsmen of the 18th century.
Born in Venice, like the masters Giovanni Bellini and Titian,
Tiepolo was a brilliant colorist and inherited the Venetian
sensitivity to light and chromatic properties inspired by the
fabled water and natural light of his native city.
What is especially remarkable is that Tiepolo achieved a
sun-drenched luminosity and suggested subtle hue variations in
drawings that are for the most part executed in only red or black
chalk on blue paper or pen and ink highlighted with deftly applied
The collection of 25 Met drawings on view at the Getty
represents each one of Tiepolo's stylistic periods, from early
religious subjects, such as the "Scenes of Martyrdom" (an
especially large and polished work), to secular themes, such as a
drawing of the goddess Venus entrusting a sleeping infant to the
winged figure of Time. …