Thomas Schütte, German, born 1954
Hope, 2010
Ink and graphite on paper
15 5/16 × 11 ½ in. (38.9 × 29.2 cm)
Work on paper (Drawing)
Purchased with funds provided by the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation in honor of Josef Helfenstein

© Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
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Thomas Schütte, an artist widely recognized for his inventive perspective on public sculptures and monumental forms, began drawing flowers in 1996, a gesture he likens to a love song—fresh, joyful, and executed in under three minutes. In this work, Schütte has drawn four flowers with a single black line running diagonally through the blossoms, stem-like, leading up to the word “hope.” The date Schütte drew the work is inscribed in German in the bottom right: March 10. All of his flower drawings are dated similarly, suggesting the commemoration of a specific event or anniversary, though this is rarely made explicit to the viewer. The blooming flowers paired with the text suggest life-affirming qualities, even though arrangements of cut flowers have also traditionally been featured in still life painting to signify the inevitability of death, a metaphor not lost on the artistCelebratory in their beauty, with broad yet delicate rendering, the depiction of flowers summons the traditions of art to present the subtleties of representation and commemoration.