Celebration of Donors: Richard B. Freeman and the Patrons of Graphics

Nov 10 2020 to Apr 3 2021
Click For Full View: 
Lester Johnson, Three Heads Frontal, 1963, lithograph on paper.

Richard B. Freeman was a passionate educator, art collector, curator, and donor whose generosity resulted in more than 230 gifts of art to the Museum, many in the form of prints and drawings dating from the 1960s and 1970s. This exhibition offers a sampling of the international group of artists whose work was donated by Freeman himself, by friends in his honor, or by the Patrons of Graphics, a collecting group he formed. The Richard B. Freeman Gallery on the second floor of the Museum was named in his honor, and is used as classroom space as well as for examining works on paper.

Educated at Yale and Harvard universities, Freeman worked in a number of prestigious museums including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, and the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio. He went on to pursue an academic career, coming to UK in 1957 and serving in the art department until 1974. 

Freeman appreciated and donated seventeenth- and nineteenth-century art to the Museum, but he was most excited about the flowering of printmaking and other graphic arts after World War II. In 1958, he began organizing an annual Graphics exhibition featuring contemporary artists who were experimenting with a wide range of techniques and approaches. He traveled across the United States and Europe seeking out new and experimental work and some of the Graphics shows traveled around the country. 

This exhibition features work by American, British, German, Hungarian, and Spanish artists, ranging in style from William Bailey’s exquisite drawing of a young woman; Lester Johnson’s expressionist Three Heads, Frontal; Paul Nash’s modernist landscape of standing stones; and Gabor Peterdi’s composition of vertical rocks, a marvel of sophisticated printing techniques and texture.

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