Works on Paper from a Distinguished Private Collection

Aug 12 – Aug 20, 2020
East Hampton

In partnership with Acquavella Galleries and Gagosian, we're pleased to present exhibition of works on paper from the collection of Donald B. Marron, one of the twentieth and twenty-first century’s most passionate and erudite collectors.


Works on Paper from a Distinguished Private Collection
Aug 12 – 20, 2020

A co-presentation by Acquavella Galleries, Gagosian, and Pace


68 Park Place
East Hampton

Above: Installation view, Works on Paper from a Distinguished Private Collection, Aug 12 – 20, 2020, Pace Gallery, East Hampton

In a continuation of our partnership with Acquavella, Gagosian, and the Marron family to handle the sale of the private collection of the late Donald B. Marron, this intimate presentation offers a glimpse into the coveted Marron estate of over 300 masterworks acquired over the course of six decades, featuring almost 40 works on paper spanning sketches and studies to fully realized paint and pastel pieces.

Works on view range from early modern masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, and Fernand Léger; to nature studies by Ellsworth Kelly and an exemplary acrylic from Paul Thek’s final series; to contemporary pieces by Mamma Andersson, Leonardo Drew, Damien Hirst, Jasper Johns, and Brice Marden, among others. A focused presentation on Ed Ruscha’s typographic and image-based drawings and a selection of his inventive artist’s books will round the exhibition. Many of these works are being exhibited publicly for the first time since their acquisition.

Works on Paper from a Distinguished Private Collection prefaces a joint exhibition in New York City in 2021 organized by the three galleries, which will showcase the breadth of the Donald B. Marron Collection and pay homage to Don Marron’s (1934–2019) legacy, including works from the family collection as well as loans from institutions. Marron enjoyed long personal relationships with Bill Acquavella, Larry Gagosian, and Arne Glimcher, who each contributed to shaping this significant collection over the course of several decades. The collaboration between the three galleries is the first of its kind, and signals a new way for families to handle the sales of their collections.

Brice Marden, Butterfly Wings, 2005, ink on paper, 11" × 15" (27.9 cm × 38.1 cm), paper 20-3/4" × 24-5/8" × 1" (52.7 cm × 62.5 cm × 2.5 cm), frame

Brice Marden

Brice Marden’s Butterfly Wings (2005) is primarily composed of loops of black ink, which swirl across but never escape the perimeter of the sheet. These lines are applied in a variety of widths, from very fine to thick, bleeding and becoming more transparent. That they are more densely intertwined in the upper right corner of the composition contributes to a sense of perspective and three dimensionality; as Marden said of his drawings in 1979, “think of them as spaces.” The black lines are punctuated with thicker but more sparsely applied lemon-yellow lines, highlighting and sometimes filling in the underlying forms. The freedom of gesture this suggests is reminiscent of automatic drawing, but with a key difference: throughout the composition, Marden has subdued several fragments of black lines with white ink, intentionally altering the space of the drawing by opening it up, but permitting vestiges of its making.

Brice Marden, Large Letter Drawing, 2007, Kremer inks, Kremer white shellac, and oil on cardstock, 29-11/16" × 39-3/4" (75.4 cm × 101 cm), paper 38-5/8" × 48-3/8" × 2-1/4" (98.1 cm × 122.9 cm × 5.7 cm), frame
Ed Ruscha, Red Yellow Scream, 1964, tempera and pencil on paper, 14-3/8" × 10-3/4" (36.5 cm × 27.3 cm) 27-3/4" × 21-3/4" × 1-1/2" (70.5 cm × 55.2 cm × 3.8 cm), frame

Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha became interested in typography in the late 1950s while studying lettering, design, and advertising at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. This interest resurfaced in his paintings and drawings in the early 1960s, with works that feature evocative, and often onomatopoeic, monosyllabic words. In Red Yellow Scream (1964), Ruscha rendered the three words in a bold, meticulously delineated typescript that emphasizes the abstract forms of the letters. The alternating red and yellow diagonals that ray outward from behind “scream” imbue the text with a raucous velocity that evokes the experience of blaring vocals. These same diagonals give the text a sense of depth that contradicts the paper’s two-dimensional plane.

Ed Ruscha, Holloween, 1977, pastel on paper, 7-7/8" × 29-1/8" (20 cm × 74 cm), paper 9-3/4" × 31" × 1-1/2" (24.8 cm × 78.7 cm × 3.8 cm), frame
William Kentridge, Drawing from "Preparing the Flute" (Temple), 2005, charcoal and pastel on paper, 47-1/2" × 63" (120.7 cm × 160 cm) 52-1/2" × 68" × 2" (133.4 cm × 172.7 cm × 5.1 cm), frame © 2020 William Kentridge

William Kentridge

In developing his interpretation of Mozart’s opera, Kentridge created two sets of preparatory works, Learning the Flute and Preparing the Flute. These studies document the artist’s experiments with various motifs, from which he expanded upon the opera’s central metaphor of darkness and light as it relates to photography, film and the camera. Setting the opera during the time of German colonial rule in Namibia, the central narrative of the production is exemplified in the struggle between two realms of the opera: the sun, lightness, and Sarastro and darkness, the moon, and Queen of the Night. By incorporating projection and animation as storytelling devices, Kentridge’s production utilizes illuminated shadows and negative space as both a formal trope and narrative tool. The struggle between darkness and light becomes an allegory for the ominous ‘eye’ of colonialism to reveal the malevolent underbelly of Enlightenment ideals and the colonial expansion of South West Africa that resulted in the massacre of indigenous people.

In Drawing from "Preparing the Flute" (Temple), 2005, the image features the temple of the sun. In his program notes for the production, Kentridge writes of this scene:

"At the end of the opera we are in the temple of the sun, the theater filled with a pure light. In projection terms, we are at the end of the film... our only hope in cinema is to make sense from the interplay between shadow and light—the platonic clarity of staring at the sun is the expiration of truth and meaning rather than its creation... There is a clue here as to our reaction to Sarastro's teachings. The years since Mozart wrote the opera have made us more wary of philosopher autocrats. The enforced bringing of wisdom has had unintended but calamitous consequences all through the years, not just in the Robbespierian terror of the years immediately after the writing of the opera, but throughout the colonial era, and throughout our own century. Though we may believe in Sarastro's benevolent guidance, in the end we believe in Mozart more, in his mix of the rational, the fantastic, the contradictory..."

Ellsworth Kelly, Burdock, 1969, ink on paper, 29" × 23" (73.7 cm × 58.4 cm) 37-3/8" × 31-1/4" × 1-5/8" (94.9 cm × 79.4 cm × 4.1 cm), frame © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Ellsworth Kelly

While best known for his minimalist paintings and sculptures, Ellsworth Kelly’s drawings of plants and flowers have formed an important part of his practice from the 1940’s on. Beginning in 1949, while living in Paris, influenced by the line drawings of Pablo Picasso and (opens in a new window) Henri Matisse, Kelly began to draw simple plant and seaweed forms, studies of leaves, stems, and flowers done in clean strokes of pencil or pen. These drawings continued to play a central role in the formation of Kelly’s thinking about minimalism and representation throughout his work.

“The drawings from plant life seem to be the bridge to the way of seeing that brought about the paintings in 1949 that are the basis for all my later work,” Kelly wrote. “They are exact observations of the form of the leaf or flower or fruit seen. Nothing is changed or added; no shading, no surface marking. They are not an approximation of the thing seen nor are they a personal expression or an abstraction. They are an impersonal observation of the form.”

Like Kelly’s other plant drawings Burdock (1969) is drawn from life, utilizing the pen to translate the distinctive shape of the leaf in as few and simple strokes as possible. Focusing on direct visual impressions, as well as the planar effects of delineating negative space, Kelly’s drawings point to his approach to painting and sculpture, in which objects found in life are rendered into minimal abstract forms.

Ellsworth Kelly, Wild Grape, 1960, graphite on paper, 16-3/4" × 13-3/4" (42.5 cm × 34.9 cm) 25-1/8" × 21-7/8" × 1-1/8" (63.8 cm × 55.6 cm × 2.9 cm)
Fernand Léger, La Roue (Projet d'affiche pur La Roue D'Abel Gance), 1920, watercolor on paper, 16-3/4" × 12-1/8" (42.5 cm × 30.8 cm) © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Jasper Johns, Two Paintings, 2006, pastel, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 22-13/16" × 31-1/8" (57.9 cm × 79.1 cm) 28-1/2" × 36-1/2" × 1-1/2" (72.4 cm × 92.7 cm × 3.8 cm), frame © 2020 Jasper Johns / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Jasper Johns

One of the most influential American painters of the twentieth century, Jasper Johns has been an important advocate of drawing as an independent genre throughout his career. Rather than seeing drawing as a preparatory medium for painting or sculpture, as many of his peers did, John’s saw drawing as integral to his investigation of “the condition of being here.”

A master draftsman, over the past ten years, John’s drawings have incorporated a variety of subject matter and media. Often filled with autobiographical references, recent drawings utilize the artist’s earlier visual lexicon—such as flags, maps, numerals, and cross-hatching—along with new imagery such as a flagstones or patterns. This diptych draws on the pattern of the Harlequin’s costume, revealing the artist’s unique ability to meld “things the mind already knows” with the principles of abstraction.

Jasper Johns, Untitled, 2005, watercolor, graphite and colored pencil on paper, 22-1/2" × 30-3/4" (57.2 cm × 78.1 cm) 31-1/2" × 39" × 1-1/4" (80 cm × 99.1 cm × 3.2 cm), frame
Raoul Dufy, Bed of Roses, n.d., watercolor on paper, 20" × 23-3/4" (50.8 cm × 60.3 cm) © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Paul Thek, While there is time, let's go out and feel everything, 1988, acrylic on newspaper, 22-1/4" × 27-3/8" (56.5 cm × 69.5 cm) © Estate of George Paul Thek

Paul Thek

Reflecting his lifelong interest in humble, ephemeral materials that register the passage of time, Paul Thek often painted on newspaper during the 1970s and ‘80s. This painting is one of the last that Thek made before his death from AIDS-related complications at the age of fifty-five. An atmospheric abstraction that evokes the early seascapes and “puddle paintings” that Thek made on the Italian island of Ponza during the late-1960s and early-1970s, the work meditates on the artist’s own mortality, yet does so in a characteristically whimsical fashion. Pressing his finger into the wet surface of the underpainting, Thek inscribed the first two lines from a chart-topping 1987 pop song by Steve Winwood, transforming the kitschy lyrics into a mantra for savoring life.

Mamma Andersson, Fabrik/Factory, 2007, mixed media on paper, 19-1/4" × 24-3/4" (48.9 cm × 62.9 cm)
Leonardo Drew, Number 26D, 2005, cast paper on paper, 23" × 22-3/4" × 5/8" (58.4 cm × 57.8 cm × 1.6 cm)
Damien Hirst, Leviathan, 2006, pencil on paper, 33-1/8" × 46-7/8" (84 cm × 119 cm)
To inquire about the works featured in this exhibition, please email inquiries@pacegallery.com.