Calligraphy of Line:

The Drawings and Paintings of Anna Walinska (1906-1997)

January 20th - February 24th, 2023

Opening Reception: Friday January 20th, 3 to 8pm

Graham Shay 1857 presents Calligraphy of Line: The Drawings of Anna Walinska (1906-1997), which brings together a dynamic selection of the daring artist’s works on paper from the 1920s and 1950s. Walinska dedicated her life to the arts, unabashedly experimenting with different mediums and styles throughout her career. She spent time in Paris learning from the avant-garde, opened an art gallery in Manhattan where she gave Arshile Gorky his first solo show in New York, exhibited with the Abstract Expressionists, painted with Burmese artists en plein air, and traveled solo across Asia into Europe.

Walinska also earned two major retrospectives during her lifetime – the first at the Jewish Museum in 1957, the second at the Museum of Religious Art, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in 1979. Beyond her career in the visual arts, she ventured into the performative arts as a singer, dancer, and thespian.

Corresponding with the 2023 edition of Master Drawings New York, Calligraphy of Line features a number of works on paper inspired by Walinska’s international travels. Two distinct series will be represented: Nude figure drawings sketched from live modeling classes in Paris during the 1920s, and abstract works on paper inspired by Burma [now Myanmar] from the 1950s. Additional works include abstract pieces executed in New York during the early '50s prior to her time in Burma.

The common thread between these bodies of work is a careful and intentional use of line; bold, thin, sweeping lines characterize the Paris drawings, while angles and curves weave together to form compelling compositions in the Burma pieces. By placing these series into conversation with one another, they can be compared and contrasted to highlight Walinska’s artistic evolution. The title of the show refers to the beginnings of her figurative work in Paris, about which she later said “I developed the calligraphy of line that stayed with me from then on.”

Anna Walinska (American, 1906–1997), Paris Nude #53, 1929, ink on paper

8 1/2 H. x 11 W. inches, signed lower right: Walinska '29

Anna Walinska (American, 1906–1997), Three Musicians, 1952, gouache on paper

24 H. x 18 3/4 W. inches, signed lower left: Walinska '52

Anna Walinska (American, 1906–1997), Figures in Landscape, c. 1957, oil on paper

22 H. x 16 W. inches, signed lower right: Walinska

View Digital Catalog

Master Drawings New York Extended Hours

Opening reception, Friday, January 20th : 3–8pm

Saturday, January 21st : 11am–6pm

Sunday, January 22nd : 1–5pm

Monday, January 23rd through Saturday, January 28th : 11am–6pm

Exhibition continues through February 24th

Monday to Friday, 11am to 6pm. 

Saturdays, Noon to 5pm


17 East 67th Street, No. 1A

New York, NY 10065