Two Croquis Sketches by Danny Allen Have Surfaced

NewDanDwg1Two 1973 croquis sketches by Danny Allen have just surfaced. For anyone unfamiliar with the term “croquis” it’s an arts term that means “quick figure drawing.” Sometimes in art classes a model will be hired to hold a series of short poses and the students will try and capture the attitude of the figure within a limited, set time period. Dan was particularly good at producing drawings of this sort. I’ve returned a sketchbook to the Allen family containing similar drawings–and I’m reasonably sure these are from that same sketch pad. I don’t believe these were done in a classroom setting, but probably at home. Friends posed for Dan. I certainly did–and I was sometimes startled to discover that Dan was merely referencing the figure and would change the gender to suit his purposes.

I was going through my junk-email today, and was about to dump all the spam messages when a name from the past jumped out at me from the subject line. I decided to open the message out of curiosity to see if by any chance it was the same person I’d lost touch with decades ago–and indeed it was. The most surprising part of the message were two attachment photos of the drawings featured in this post. The drawings had surfaced among my friend’s stored belongings while he was in the process of moving, and he was writing to tell me he was sending them back to me.

NewDanDwg2Apparently his new fiancee’s family take a dim view of any kind of nudity, so he was never going to be able to display the art. He’d heard through mutual friends that I’d written a book about Danny Allen, so he decided to send the drawings to me rather than burying them over again in storage. I don’t see anything shocking or erotic about either piece, but if nothing else, art is subjective. I’m just glad to have them sent my way. I want to check out their condition and then send them along to the Allen family for their collection. You never know what will turn up–especially with someone who’d been as prolific and creative as Danny Allen.

Reframing One of Danny’s Drawings

Kylie with framed drawing photoProperly framing artwork is one of those things that can only be done correctly when you’ve got access to the the right equipment and workspace. When framing Danny Allen’s drawing The Egyptian, I wanted to accentuate his strong use of line. I also wanted to “float” the drawing within a mat contrasting it against a backing board rather than using a mat that was laid on top of the edges of the drawing. Some of Dan’s line work comes almost to the edge of the paper. Also some of the edges of the paper are torn–and curiously enough I kind of liked allowing all those edges to show. The technique for floating a piece like this is tricky. The conservator applied tabs to the back of the drawing–but since the mat wasn’t going to cover the edges of the drawing, slits had to be accurately cut into the backing board and the tabs fed through the board and taped in place on the reverse side.

DSCN3617I chose a black acid-free backing for the drawing, and a mat that was close in color to the paper Dan used–but that mat also has a black core which makes for a seamless contrast. The principles of framing are relatively simple with the proper tools. I took the drawing to a studio/gallery in Philadelphia called Frameworks. FrameWorks Gallery – 2103 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 – 215.567.6800 I’ve worked with the owners and staff at Frameworks for years, and trust their judgement, craftsmanship and advise. I’ve done many of these same framing techniques myself, but without those aforementioned proper tools you’re much better off taking your art to a professional framer. To illustrate just how confusing framing can be, I’ve made a little video I’ve titled “Picture Framing Made Confusing.”


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