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The museum’s collection of watercolors and drawings began in 1935, when Amon G. Carter Sr. purchased nine watercolors by Charles M. Russell. This first acquisition led him to assemble over the next 20 years a renowned collection of western art that eventually became the basis of the Carter’s collection. As the drawing collection grew, it soon encompassed unique reflections of time and place, including early westward expansion, American landscape and still-life painting, and 20th-century modernism.

Some of the drawings in this book are preliminary works intended for other artistic media, usually prints or oils on canvas. Toward the end of the 19th century, when drawing came into its own as an independent means of self-expression, artists like Winslow Homer and William Trost Richards experimented with more individualistic styles. The dawn of the modern age brought innovative works by such 20th-century masters as Georgia O’Keeffe and John Marin. These drawings, many representing their makers’ highest achievements, reveal how the artists made complex decisions about translating value, light, and form to paper.

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