An Archive of Postmodernism

John Hill
3. June 2019
Michael Graves (American, 1934–2015). Denver Central Library, South Facade, 1993. Graphite and colored pencil on tracing paper, 40.6 × 68.6 cm. (Image © Estate of Michael Graves)

Four years after architect Michael Graves died at the age of 80, the Princeton University Art Museum has acquired nearly 5,000 drawings from the estate of the famous Postmodernist who lived and worked in Princeton, New Jersey, for decades.

Denver Central Library as built, in 2013 (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

The drawings range from travel sketches to drawings for the architect's projects, be they buildings, master plans, or tea kettles. One thing they have in common is Graves's hand. According to Princeton University all were drawn by Graves: in pen and ink, charcoal, graphite, colored pencil, watercolor, or pastel. The various media and subjects are an "essential visual archive of Graves’s work," per the museum — and a trove of Postmodern architecture.

Michael Graves (American, 1934–2015). Sketchbook drawing, 1979. Pen, colored pencil, and oil pastel on paper, 20.3 × 14 cm. (Image © Estate of Michael Graves)
Michael Graves (American, 1934–2015). San Pietro in Frascati, 1961. Brown ink and wash on paper, 69.2 × 104.8 cm. (Image © Estate of Michael Graves)
Michael Graves (American, 1934–2015). Church and Campanile, Rome, 1961. Ink pen and wash on paper, 27.50”h x 39.25”w. (Image © Estate of Michael Graves)
Michael Graves (American, 1934–2015). Drawing for the Alessi “Whistling Bird” Teakettle, n.d. Pen on paper, 27.9 × 21.6 cm. (Image © Estate of Michael Graves)

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