The Curious Drawings of Doctor Clapp

Exhibition Dates
October 24 – December 6 2019
Exhibition Location
University Art Gallery, Frick Fine Arts Building, University of Pittsburgh

What do old Italian drawings have to do with shells, rocks, coins and other curiosities from across the globe? This diverse spectrum of objects were all donated to museums by George Hubbard Clapp (1858-1949), an aluminum industry pioneer whose collecting across art and science made him something of a modern-day Renaissance man.

This exhibition focuses on a collection of drawings that Clapp donated to the University in 1941. Dating from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, Pitt students have conducted in-depth research that sheds new light on these mysterious drawings. The Curious Drawings of Doctor Clapp provides a rare opportunity to inspect early modern drawings in Pittsburgh, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of collecting.

Curated by the students of HAA1030 (Spring 2019) and HAA1020 (Fall 2019).

Supported by The Fine Foundation

Related Public Programs: 


Thursday, November 7 @ 5:00-7pm

Una notte al museo/Night at the Museum: Italian Conversation Hour

Join us for an Italian language evening hosted by the UAG in collaboration with Italian Studies. Professor Christopher Nygren (History of Art and Architecture) will lead an Italian language tour of the exhibition “The Curious Drawings of Doctor Clapp,” followed by a demonstration of materials featured in the exhibition by Ana Rodríguez Castillo. Following the event, join us for refreshments and colorful Italian conversation in the Cloister.


Tuesday, November 12 @ 1-1:45pm, Thursday, November 21 @ 1-1:45pm
The Art of the Clapp Collection

This gallery tour will explore the art and artists of the Clapp collection, focusing on the varied subjects and attributions of the exhibit’s early modern drawings, which range from student copies to original sketches. The tour will also explore the creative side of Clapp’s own collecting tastes.


Thursday, November 14 @ 1-1:45pm, Tuesday December 3 @ 1-1:45pm
The Science of the Clapp Collection

This gallery tour will explore the art and science of the Clapp collection, focusing on the materials and techniques of the exhibit’s selection of early modern drawings, and drawing special attention to the conservation challenges of the collection. The tour will also focus on Clapp’s interests in scientific collecting.


Thursday, November 5 @ 5-7pm

Maker Event: Making Masterpieces

Join students from HAA 1020 for hands-on activities to mark the final day of “The Curious Drawings of Doctor Clapp” and “Metal from Clay: Pittsburgh’s Aluminum Stories,” including drawing, button-making, yoga in the gallery, sketching in the Cloister, prizes and more! All are welcome to attend. Food and refreshments!