From Lucian Freud to Kiki Smith, life drawing to minimalism and etching to collage, this exhibition spanned an intriguing range of styles and techniques used in art on paper from 1960 to 2017.
Comprising over 100 prints and drawings, the show presented a selection from around 150 works of art donated by Hamish Parker, a long-term supporter of the British Museum. Judged to be pre-eminent, Parker's gift was accepted by the government under the Cultural Gifts Scheme and allocated to the Museum in 2020.
The works on display dated from 1960 to 2017, except for an etching by Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) from 1933. This was a nod to Parker's first major gift to the Museum in 2011 – the funds to purchase Picasso's Vollard Suite of 100 etchings made in the 1930s. The most recent works were by the German artist Caroline Kryzecki (b. 1979) and the British artist Sam Messenger (b. 1980), both of whom produce intricate, systematic drawings in ink.
With a strong focus on the US, the exhibition showcased work by leading artists from around the world including Young British Artists Jake and Dinos Chapman (b. 1966, 1962), German abstract painter Blinky Palermo (1943–1977) and Japanese multidisciplinary artist Kusama Yayoi (b. 1929). It included 'in focus' sections on American artists Carroll Dunham (b. 1949) and Al Taylor (1948–99) and work by artists who were previously unrepresented in the Museum's collection, such as South Africa's Marlene Dumas (b. 1953) and Vietnam's Tiffany Chung (b. 1969). The result was both an invigorating tour through 60 years of art on paper and a fascinating insight into the Museum's contemporary collection, which was significantly enhanced by this gift.