The Collector, 1999
Xerox (on paper) and graphite mounted on board
The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States, a joint initiative of the Trustees of the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection and the National Gallery of Art, with generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2008
Neil Jenney drew this portrait of the collector Herbert Vogel while Vogel was in his New York studio looking at art on the wall. Working spontaneously after a previous attempt to draw the subject in a more formal pose, the artist used a sheet of the graph paper he typically uses to sketch out his paintings. The grid usually serves as a guide when Jenney wants to transfer his drawing to the canvas, but here it becomes an element of the finished work. The center of The Collector is occupied by a vertical line, creating a division between the figure and the object of his gaze that might remind viewers of Jenney’s earlier series of works, the so-called Bad Paintings (1968–70) whose titles pointed to a polarized relationship between two objects: Forest and Lumber (1969), Threat and Sanctuary (1969), Girl and Doll (1969). By the time he drew The Collector, he was making the kind of painting that Vogel is looking at, a coherent, horizontal composition surrounded by a heavy frame, often with a protruding ‘mantlepiece’ below the image. (DKS)
Image description: A side view pencil drawing of an old man with bent knees and his arms at his sides gazing across the room at a painting on a mantel shelf. The man is drawn on two sheets of grid paper pasted to a white board.