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The Drawings of Rube Goldberg

Saturday, April 12–Sunday, July 6, 2003

Rube Goldberg, Professor Butts strolls between two sets of gangsters having a machine gun battle and is struck by an idea for keeping a button-hole flower fresh, ca. 1930. Courtesy Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Rube Goldberg is a trademark and a copyright of Rube Goldberg Inc.

Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970) was a colorful figure whose early life in San Francisco during the Gilded Age, and whose training as a draftsman and engineer, primed him for a career as a satirist. Like other commentators of his day, Goldberg’s satirical tendencies were entirely democratic - no one, regardless of class or stature, was immune. Nevertheless, even in the artist's most poignant sketches, his subject’s humanity is never relinquished.

Organized at the Gallery by Curator Douglas Dreishpoon, the exhibition composed a selection of the works for which Goldberg was best known.

Fifty-six cartoons and sketches from all periods of the artist’s career were on display, including one of his earliest works dated 1918. Editorial and other political cartoons, as well as preparatory sketches for hundreds of other works, came to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery from Williams College Museum of Art, where they were donated by Goldberg’s son, George W. George. Many were conceived by the artist in the early sixties as part of a proposal for an animated television series.