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William Bailey: Drawings

Curated by the Artist

William Bailey, Untitled, nd., Pastel, watercolor and graphite on paper, 28 x 19 1/2 inches

The New York Studio School presents William Bailey: Drawings, curated by the Artist, originally scheduled for March 9 – April 12, 2020, and extended August 31 – September 27, 2020. This collection of drawings spanning over five decades shows the evolution of Bailey’s distinctive style, across pencil, ink, charcoal, conte, silverpoint, and pastel on paper. The drawings reveal the artist’s hand and thought process.  Bailey’s figure drawings are started with a model in the studio but quite often completed well after the model has departed; while his still-life drawings are done with no set-up, from the imagination, and willed into existence through Bailey’s slow, thoughtful touch.

Bailey proves that representation and imagination are not in fact opposites, so when they come together, a magic stillness takes over. In the mature work, place and time fall away as concerns, and instead we confront the profound introspection, whether humans or vessels.

“However clearly he sets things out, however tight or sharp his definitions, I am always left with a feeling of remoteness, of something beyond what I can see. Nothing is set up to invite me in.”
-Excerpt from Essay by Andrew Forge, in William Bailey: Works on Paper, accompanying an exhibition at the Henry Koerner Center for Emeritus Faculty, Yale University, January 22 to May 22, 2019.

William Bailey (1930-2020) was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He attended the University of Kansas, School of Fine Arts. After serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, he studied under Josef Albers at Yale where he received both his B.F.A. and M.F.A degrees. He has been exhibiting in New York since the late 1960’s. Recent exhibitions include: William Bailey, Looking through Time, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, and William Bailey: On Paper, The Henry Koerner Center at Yale University, New Haven, CT.   Bailey’s work is in several museum collections: in New York City: The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Morgan Library and Museum;  in Washington DC: the National Gallery of Art,  the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculp­ture Garden, the Phillips Collection and the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; and in Boston: Museum of Fine Arts.  Bailey is the subject of two monographs, one by Mark Strand and the other by John Hollander and Guiliano Briganti.  Bailey lives and works in New Haven, CT and Umbria, Italy and is represented by Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, NY.

Press Release



The New York Studio School mourns the loss of our good friend, great artist and marvelous man, William Bailey. We are honored to have the exhibition of his drawings installed in our Main Gallery, ready to reopen once it is safe to do so. His passion, energy, and unique way of looking, live on through his powerful works. He will be deeply missed.

New York Times Obituary



The Critic’s Notebook, March 10,2020, The New Criterion




Snapshots From NYSS

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