Paper Unbound: The Drawn Menagerie at Christopher Bishop Fine Art



Nicholas Huet, A White Dwarf Spitz, 1820; watercolor and bodycolour on vellum; 8 59/127 x 12 51/127 inches. Image courtesy of the gallery

Paper Unbound: The Drawn Menagerie, an exhibition of more than three centuries of works on paper featuring animals, will be on view at Christopher Bishop Fine Art in New York City from January 21 through March 11, 2022. The show will be presented as part of Master Drawings New York, which runs from January 21 – 29, 2022.

Paper Unbound will showcase more than a dozen important works dating from c. 1600 to 1982, including drawings by Alexander Calder, Nicolas Huet, Jacob Jordaens, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, and Jacob de Wit. With subjects drawn from across the animal kingdom and even from the world of fantasy – dogs, roosters, an elephant, dragons, a phoenix, butterflies, monkeys, and tigers– the exhibition explores how animals exemplify the inherent tensions in art: between representation and abstraction, modern and traditional, control and freedom, foreign splendors and familiar intimacies.

“Many of the works on view in Paper Unbound occupy a liminal place between genres, between ways of looking. They walk the line between science and documentation and a more symbolic or abstract way of thinking,” said Christopher Bishop. “These ways of working reflect our shifting relationship with art over the ages.”

Alexander Calder, butterfly, Mouse and Snail, 1968; Gouache, 23 x 30 3/4 inches. Image courtesy of the gallery.

Exhibition highlights include Alexander Calder’s Butterfly, Mouse and Snail (1968), a playful modernist piece that echoes the artist’s renowned sculptural work in wire, exploring negative and positive space through the shapes of the animals represented. Also on view is work by English painter George Chinnery, a contemporary of J.M.W. Turner, who spent most of his life working as a portraitist in Asia, where he also depicted local life and scenery. He drew Two Cows (Macau, c. 1850) when he lived in this international city in his later years.

The exhibition also features works for dog lovers, including Nicolas Huet’s A White Dwarf Spitz (c. 1820), created at a time when smaller dogs began to be bred as pets. Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo’s Four Dogs Playing in a Landscape (c. 1790) is a preparatory drawing for a fresco in the artist’s family home, capturing a playful moment of romping dogs.

Paper Unbound: The Drawn Menagerie will be exhibited at Christopher Bishop Fine Art, 1046 Madison Avenue near 80th Street in New York, extended from January 21 through March 11, 2022.