The Menil Drawing Institute will be home to nearly 2000 drawings from the Menil Collection, with particularly strong holdings in 19th century modernism, Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Minimalism.
Prior to the formation of the Drawing Institute, two important gifts were made to the already strong holdings of drawings in the museum. The first is Louisa Stude Sarofim’s gift of Ellsworth Kelly’s Tablet in 2003, which made Houston one of the most important cities in the world to study his practice. Comprising 188 drawings and collages that Kelly made from 1948 to 1973, Tablet reflects his thinking during this crucial time in his career. The second is the bequest of David Whitney in 2005, when drawings by artists such as Vija Celmins, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, and Robert Rauschenberg were added to the collection.
Artists and artists’ estates also have made remarkable gifts to the Drawing Institute. Robert Gober, Suzan Frecon, Max Neuhaus, David Novros, Claes Oldenburg, and Cy Twombly are among those who have donated drawings to the collection, enabling the Menil to present their practices in light of their long-standing relationships with the institution.
In 2013, thanks to a major bequest from Houston architect and Menil trustee William F. Stern, drawings by Mel Bochner, Donald Judd, Sherrie Levine, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Richard Tuttle, among others, entered the collection.
Most recently, the Drawing Institute announced that two patrons and trustees of the museum had each promised an important gift of drawings from their renowned collections to the Menil, increasing our holdings of works by artists like Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Eva Hesse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Frank Stella, but also adding works by artists not previously held in the drawing collection like George Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Bruce Nauman, Rachel Whiteread, and Terry Winters.