Prints & Drawings

The Block began collecting prints and drawings shortly after opening in 1980. Today the Museum owns approximately 3,300 prints and almost 700 drawings. Most are by North American and European artists, with notable strengths in 20th- and 21st-century works.

As an institution focused on reproducible media, one of the Museum’s objectives is to collect seminal examples of printmaking’s development -- from 15th-century relief prints to computer generated works -- by historically significant artists. Highlights in the collection include prints by Albrecht Dürer, Honoré Daumier, Max Beckmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Mary Cassatt, Henri Matisse, Jasper Johns, Chuck Close and Kiki Smith.

The collection of drawings is particularly known for Marion Mahony Griffin’s renderings, but it also includes fine examples of master drawings by 16th-century Italian artists such as Parmigianino and Francesco Vanni, and a remarkable grouping of photorealist watercolors by Ralph Goings, John Salt and others.

Depression-era prints and drawings are richly represented in the collection as are many important artists who worked for the Works Progress Administration, including Thomas Hart Benton, Fritzi Brod, Eleanor Coen, Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence and Henry Simon.

Artists whose primary medium is sculpture -- such as Henry Moore, Robert Morris, Beverly Pepper -- are represented by prints and drawings that demonstrate the tactile aspects of woodcut, intaglio, chalk and wash on paper.

Also in the Block’s collection are several hundred prints and drawings by Chicago artists such as Roger Brown, Leon Golub, Audrey Niffenegger, Ed Paschke, Hollis Sigler, Karl Wirsum, H. C. Westermann and others.