Vaccaro Begins Quest to Bring Old Master Drawings to Texas

This summer, Dr. Mary Vaccaro will travel to France to begin work on a project that may bring rare Old Master drawings to North Texas.

Vaccaro, Professor of Art History, was recently awarded a grant from the Texas Fund for Curatorial Research. The money will enable her to conduct onsite research of Italian drawings from 14th-16th century artists.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “I get to go into these collections and look at their holdings. It will be a great opportunity to bring these drawings to North Texas.”

Vaccaro’s research will be focused on collections housed with French Regional and American Museum Exchange (FRAME) members. Founded in 1999, FRAME is a formal collaboration of museums in France, the United States and Canada. Vaccaro hopes the works she uncovers will eventually fill a future exhibition at a local museum.

“There are no public collections [of Old Master drawings] in North Texas, only private collections,” she said. “My trip is about going to see if there are enough drawings to build a show.”

Often, Italian painters, sculptors and architects like Raphael, Michelangelo and da Vinci made drawings before they began their seminal work. The advent of the printing press and other technology made higher quality paper more affordable. Vaccaro said these drawings attract interest from the general public and private collectors.

“You can have a much more intimate relationship with a drawing than a painting,” she said. “Each artist has a kind of handwriting for his or her work. You can hold the drawing in your hands [and] get so close to them. You get a sense of direct contact with an artist who was working 500 years ago.”

Vaccaro said she’ll examine six different collections during her month-long research trip in July.

For more information about FRAME, visit www.framemuseums.org.

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