Harvard Art Museums receive 70 sketchbooks by late artist Otto Piene

Otto Piene, "Untitled (Sketch of Night Sky), from "Sketchbook: wartime," 1944-45,watercolor. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photo: Karen Philippi.
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; photo by Karen Philippi
Otto Piene’s “Untitled (Sketch of Night Sky),” from “Sketchbook: wartime,” 1944-45, watercolor.

The Harvard Art Museums have received a gift of 70 sketchbooks by the late artist Otto Piene . A longtime Groton resident, Piene died in 2014. The donation was made by his widow, the poet Elizabeth Goldring . The notebooks will be part of the collection of Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum.

Piene came to Greater Boston from his native Germany in 1968, as a fellow at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. He served as director of the center from 1974 to 1994.

“Otto’s sketchbook practice informed our lives together,” Goldring said in a statement issued by Harvard. “He carried sketchbooks everywhere — on vacations, and to and from MIT. Every time he had a few minutes, he would sketch.”


Currently on display at the Fitchburg Art Museum is “Fire and Light: Otto Piene in Groton, 1983-2014.”