Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Whether quick sketches or highly finished works, drawings reveal artists' creative impulses and their artistic process, providing us a window into the way ideas are transformed into images, and how artists navigate composition and design. Marks of Genius: 100 Extraordinary Drawings from the Minneapolis Institute of Art presents a selection of exceptional and rarely seen works from the museum’s superb collection of over 2,600 drawings. Ranging from the fifteenth century to the present day, the exhibition features pen and ink studies, chalk drawings, watercolors, and pastels that explore a wide range of subject matter, including depictions from nature, portraits, mythological scenes, and landscapes.

Masterworks by such artists as Annibale Carracci, Guercino, Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol illustrate the manifold role of drawings as a means of study, observation, and personal expression, bringing to life the intimacy and immediacy of the artist’s hand.

Marks of Genius is organized around several themes that embody key aspects of drawing, including the three highlighted here.

Artist as Observer features studies from nature, including people, flora, and fauna. Showcasing Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s extraordinary observational and technical skills to depict scientifically accurate botanical forms, this drawing (below right) illustrates the flowers, leaves, stem, bulb and roots of the amaryllis lutea as well as the plant’s reproductive system. It was later engraved for Redouté’s eight-volume publication of lilies called Les Liliacées (1802–16).

Abstraction explores how artists approach both representational and non-representational forms through drawing. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s portrayal of a woman (left) features bold and animated strokes of pastel and black ink to distinguish form. A member of the German progressive art group called Die Brücke (The Bridge), Kirchner found artistic inspiration in the works of Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, and Henri Matisse.

presents drawings that have a narrative theme. Arthur Rackham’s intricately detailed drawing of Little Red Riding Hood’s encounter with the wolf was created for the 1909 edition of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Creating a sense of isolation and danger, Rackham contrasted the small, innocent girl with the towering, eerie woods.

What's pictured: (left) Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880–1938), Seated Woman in the Studio, 1909, pastel, brush, and black ink, 35 3/8 x 26 5/8 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art, Gift of funds from Mr. and Mrs. Hall James Peterson 67.41; (below right) Pierre-Joseph Redouté (Flemish, active France, 1759–1840), Amaryllis lutea, c. 1800–1806, watercolor and graphite on vellum, 18 1/2 x 13 1/4 in., Minneapolis Institute of Art, Gift of funds from the Friends of the Institute 91.32

Hours, Tickets, & Tours

Marks of Genius is open during all regular Museum hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm; late 'til 8 pm on Thursday. Closed Mondays and major holidays.

Marks of Genius is a ticketed exhibition:
General public adults: $10
(Thursday evening pricing, 4-8 pm: $5 for general public adults)
$5 for college students with a valid ID (tickets for those with a UNMC student ID are free)
Youth ages 17 and younger: Free
Joslyn Members: Free (Not a member? Click here to join now!)

All visitors, including members, must obtain a ticket for entrance to the exhibition (no reservations necessary).

Programs with visits to the exhibition will be priced accordingly for general public adults. Docent-guided tours of the exhibition are offered on select days. Check the calendar of events for exact tour dates. Marks of Genius ticket pricing applies.

Mobile Marks of Genius

Free Wi-Fi is available in all Joslyn galleries. Bring your web-enabled mobile device or borrow one of ours to access the dual language Marks of Genius mobile tour. Presented by Joslyn and OnCell. Call (402) 881-3601 to access the tour in English; (402) 972-4031 for the Spanish language tour. Tour access information also available on site and on the Museum's mobile tour page.

The Catalogue

Purchase the Marks of Genius exhibition catalogue in the Hitchcock Museum Shop or online. $59.95 (Member price: $53.96)

Exhibition-Related Events & Programs

Friday, October 6; 5:30–8 pm
Members Preview Reception

Monday, October 9; Noon–3 pm
Members Day

Friday, October 13 @ 7 pm
Drink & Draw

Saturday & Sunday, November 4 & 5
Free College Weekend
During regular public hours (10 am to 4 pm) on Saturday and Sunday, November 4 and 5, anyone with a valid college ID will receive free tickets to Marks of Genius.

Thursday, November 9 @ 6:30 pm
A Window into the Artist's Mind with Rachel McGarry

Thursday, November 30 @ 6:30 & 7:15 pm
Marks of Genius Curator Gallery Talk

Sunday, December 17 @ 2 & 2:45 pm
Marks of Genius Curator Gallery Talk

Many regularly scheduled programs will be presented with a nod to Marks of Genius. Check these listings for details:
  • Stroller Tours (Wednesday, October 18 @ 10:30 am)

  • Art Encounters (Thursday, October 19 @ 10:30 am)

  • Drawing Classes for All Ages: From drawing in the galleries and figure drawing (clothed and nude) to intuitive drawing and drawing with a brush, there’s something for everyone’s interests and skill level. Start with a workshop to learn bookbinding techniques and make a sketchbook!