The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will examine and digitally photograph 13 full-scale drawings, known as cartoons, created by Diego Rivera in his preparation for painting the DIA’s internationally renowned Detroit Industry murals. The drawings have not been looked at in more than 30 years, and have never been digitally photographed. The project will take place from July 22 to Aug. 2 and is made possible by a grant from Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project. The grant will also fund any necessary conservation work on the delicate drawings.
Due to their fragility and size, the cartoons cannot be loaned to other museums and were last on view in the 1986 exhibition Diego Rivera: A Retrospective. When not on display, the drawings are housed in a climate-controlled custom storage space in the museum.
“Bank of America’s generous grant enables us to establish a much needed digital record of these significant drawings,” said Graham W.J. Beal, DIA director. “Because the drawings are too fragile to leave the museum, the digital photographs will provide researchers and scholars access to an important aspect of Rivera’s work.”