Untitled (Nanny Goat)
Sheet: 46 x 61.3 cm (18 1/8 x 24 1/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Charcoal and liquid graphite on paper
Not On View
Robert Beauchamp (pronounced Bee-chum) grew up in Colorado and moved to New York where he studied abstract painting with Hans Hofmann. After a while, however, he wearied of abstraction “because it leaves out too much” and took up figurative painting. At the same time, he found realism too confining. His goal was to fuse the objective observation of natural forms with the subjectivity of abstraction. The transition occurred in 1953-57. Critics and collectors found his hot-blooded work a refreshing change from the overwhelming dominance of non-figurative art. Laden with erotic content and populated with wild creatures, both real and imagined, his paintings sold well. Demand tapered off as Pop became the next new thing and Beauchamp continued to follow his own muse. Often marked by dark humor, his work was so adventurous that it could sometimes fall flat, but his best work remained vibrant.
Professor Maurice Géracht (Holy Cross), donor of this drawing, has remarked on Beauchamp’s ability to hold a tight rein even while his work seems to spin out of control, and Beauchamp said that an artist’s goal is to fill up empty space. The nanny is a good example of both. She is so big and energetic that she does not quite fit on the page. Beauchamp drew, erased, and redrew the goat’s contours. He apparently placed the paper on a rough surface while adding the shading, for it has a stippled texture. He then selectively smeared and erased his work in a crosshatched pattern that adds to the animal’s heft. With the entire paper surface enlivened, the nanny goat seems ready to leap from the page.
Signed across bottom in black chalk: Beauchamp
Estate of the artist; from which purchased by Elaine and Mauruce Géracht (Chestnut Hill, MA); by whom given to MFA, 29 December 2006.
Gift of Elaine and Maurice Géracht
Reproduced with permission.