Delightfully Unexpected: Unfinished

Posted by Carly Kuhn on

words & images by: Carly Kuhn

I recently went to the exhibit “UNFINISHED: Thoughts Left Visible” at The Met Breuer museum while visiting my family in New York City. The exhibit displays 197 works from the Renaissance through today that are considered “unfinished” works of art for one reason or another.  Some pieces were intended by the artist to look unfinished for aesthetic purposes, while others were left that way due to circumstance. For instance- the sitter/model for the painting could have died, or the painter him/herself may have passed away before completion.

"American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Negotiations with Great Britain" by Benjamin West 

Post Humorous Portrait of Ria Munk III by Gustav Klimt 

"Harlequin" by Pablo Picasso 

 The exhibit puts into the question the notion of what constitutes as “finished” art? How do you know when to put the pen or paintbrush down and declare to the world “my piece is complete!” As many of you may or may not know, I have always been attracted to the perfectly imperfect. It’s an aspect frequently incorporated into my art, and is also a quality that inspires me to create. I like to leave many of my drawings “unfinished” like the below piece “Smoke & Suspender".

The exhibit was extremely inspiring and made me want to immediately go home and draw. It runs until September 4th in NYC. If  you can’t make it there before, you can purchase the coffee table book (link below).  

You can get tickets here  

Or buy the beautiful coffee table book here 


"James Hunter Black Draftee" by Alice Neel

"Napoleon (After Louis David, Le General Bonaparte vers 1797)" by Elizabeth Peyton 

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