The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross will present a representative selection of four decades of works on paper by the American artist and figurative expressionist Robert Beauchamp (1923 – 1995) from Jan. 25 – Mar. 28. An opening reception will take place on Tues., Jan., 30th, 5 – 7 p.m. in the gallery.
The exhibition is curated by Maurice Géracht, the Stephen J. Prior Professor of Humanities in the English Department at Holy Cross, visual arts faculty member Leslie Schomp, who teaches drawing at the College, and Roger Hankins, director of the Cantor Art Gallery.
Beauchamp created a vast number of works on paper as well as paintings from the 1950s to mid 1990s. He became a student of Hans Hoffman after seeing an exhibition of his students’ work in 1950. He left Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan after receiving a B.F.A. in 1949, travelling first to Provincetown, Mass. to work with Hoffman, then continuing his studies with him in New York. Beauchamp soon began to show his work in both one-person and group exhibitions. Beauchamp’s style, although rooted in abstraction under the influence of Hoffman, soon veered toward figurative expressionism, which sustained his art practice for the next four decades.
Through the generosity of Beauchamp’s widow, Nadine Valenti Beauchamp, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery received a substantial gift in 2016 of works on paper by Robert Beauchamp. The exhibition traces his long career from the early days in New York to his death in 1995, highlighting a vast array of inventive drawing techniques, a never ending deep engagement with the figure, along with imaginative combinations of personal symbols and narration.
Géracht, a friend of Nadine Beauchamp and champion of Beauchamp’s work, first approached Hankins several years ago about the possibility of placing Beauchamp’s extensive archive at Holy Cross. There were connections between Nadine Beauchamp and Holy Cross as the Cantor Art Gallery had organized a one-person exhibition of his paintings in 1999, and a large-scale self-portrait in the permanent collection by Beauchamp entitled “Artist in His Studio”, from 1983, is on display in the foyer of Stein Hall.
Although unable to accept the entire scope of the archive, Hankins worked closely with Nadine Beauchamp to determine a manageable number of works the College was able to assume stewardship for due to space and resource concerns. While recounting his many trips to New York to meet with her, Hankins praised her generosity, “It is with great appreciation that the College acknowledges Nadine Beauchamp’s extraordinary gift to Holy Cross, which will help ensure the legacy of Robert Beauchamp’s remarkable career by allowing us to create a resource for teaching and scholarship that will broaden the understanding and appreciation of drawing as a medium.”
Leslie Schomp, an artist and faculty member who has taught at Holy Cross since 2000 in the Department of Visual Arts, enthusiastically accepted Hankins’ invitation to assist him with curating the exhibition along with Prof. Géracht, said “Beauchamp’s innovative range of approaches to both the materials and processes of drawing really impressed me. The works have incredible educational value.”
A number of lectures and special events that will take place during the run of the show are in the planning stages – information will be posted to the Cantor Art Gallery’s website and through social media as details are confirmed.
• “Robert Beauchamp: Four Decades of Works on Paper” A Gift from the Collection of Nadine Valenti BeauchampThurs., Jan. 25 – Wed., Mar. 28, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
• Opening Reception for the exhibition, Cantor Art GalleryTues., Jan. 30, 5 – 7 p.m.
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