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Dan Thompson, "Self," 2013, silverpoint, 17 x 11 in.

Saving Silverpoint

An innovative exhibition hosted by the National Arts Club is gathering support from contemporary artists and collectors for the largely forgotten medium of silverpoint.

Sherry Camhy, "Innocence," 2004, silverpoint on gray clay board, 46 x 35 in. 

A group of talented contemporary artists is giving new life to an old medium. New York's National Arts Club is currently hosting "The Silverpoint Exhibition," an important show that investigates the value of metalpoint techniques for contemporary artists. "The Silverpoint Exhibition" will remain on view through December 23.

Jason Bard Yarmosky, "The Bather," 2010, graphite and silver on wood panel, 23 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.

Ephraim Rubenstein, "Maddie Sleeping," 1990, silverpoint on prepared paper, 16 x 21 in. Private collection

Harvey Dinnerstein, "Mercedes," 1976, silverpoint on clay-coated surface, 20 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.

Silverpoint is a storied artistic technique in which the artist draws on prepared paper, using thin lengths of silver held in a stylus. Before graphite was put into use as an artistic medium, artists would draw with metals: silver, gold, copper, tin, or lead. Broadly referred to as metalpoint, this technique was first used by medieval scribes in the creation of illuminated manuscripts. Silver became the metal of choice because its subtle sheen gains character over time. Though silverpoint has largely fallen out of use, certain contemporary artists remain convinced of its importance. "The Silverpoint Exhibition" serves as a sampling of what talented artists can do with the medium.

The show has been curated by Sherry Camhy, a historian of silverpoint and herself a practitioner of the medium. "The Silverpoint Exhibition" features artworks from Dennis Angel, Juliette Aristides, Steven Assael, Clara Boyle, Stacy Brown, Thomas Butler, Camhy, Mary Grace Concannon, Jeannine Cook, Harvey Dinnerstein, Lois Dinnerstein, Fioretti, Paula Gerard, Richard Husson, Evan Kitson, Margaret Krug, Jeffrey Lewis, Tom Mazzullo, James Melone, Maria Mottola, August Mosca, Carol Prusa, Lauren Amalia Redding, Ephraim Rubenstein, Koo Schadler, Sheldon Schultz, Susan Schwalb, Wendy Shalen, Burton Silverman, Jos. A. Smith, Katie Steiner, Thomas Stubbs, Aidan Terry, Dan Thompson, Ever Blanco Valverde, Costa Vavagiakis, Lea Colie Wight, Jason Bard Yarmosky, Marjorie Williams-Smith, and Blake Zoephel

Fioretti, "Geraniums," 2013, silver, gold, and copper, 24 x 19 in.

Costa Vavagiaskis, "Maria XXI," 2007, silverpoint on paper, 11 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.

Jos. A. Smith, "The Escape of the Toys," 2008, silverpoint, 20 x 14 1/4 in.

Camhy first fell in love with silverpoint while a student in Harvey Dinnerstein's painting class at the Art Students League. Now, she hopes to spread that love to artists and the art-appreciating public. In anticipation of a landmark metalpoint exhibition scheduled for 2015 — the result of a collaboration between the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the British Museum in London — focused on historical works, "The Silverpoint Exhibition" asserts that silverpoint has an exciting future, as well as a distinguished past.
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This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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