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Raspberry Canes

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Raspberry Canes

Artist: Helen Searle (American, 1830 - 1884)

Date: 1868
Medium: Graphite on paper
Overall: 5 5/16 x 24 1/4in. (13.5 x 61.6cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 2008.14
Label Text
The precision with which Searle drew this image demonstrates her impressive skills as a draftsman, and the thorough training she received in Germany from the renowned Düsseldorf still-life painter, Johann Wilhelm Preyer (1803-89). The drawing is noteworthy because it demonstrates Searle's contrasting responses to the sheet of paper she worked on. In one case she casually allowed a raspberry leaf at the top of the image to be cut off by the edge of the paper, but at the lower left she dutifully continued drawing another leaf across the paper crease that separates the sheet from the next page of the sketchbook. The resultant, two-page, asymmetrical design demonstrates Searle's breathtaking confidence in the expressive power of negative compositional space.

Paul D. Schweizer
May 2012

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