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Figural Drawings

Figural drawing includes any composition created with traditional drawing media featuring recognizable figures. This type of art corresponds to the oldest mode of artistic expression, hearkening back to the depiction of humans, flora, and fauna rendered on the walls of caves.

Figural drawing may best be understood as the antithesis of abstract drawing. While abstract drawing seeks to represent interior, cosmic, or ethereal realities through forms that often bear no resemblance to anything tangible, figural drawing features recognizable images.

Notable figural drawings from famous artists are often highly competitive at auction. As an art form, figural drawing continues to flourish today with artists such as Mark Tansey and Elizabeth Peyton reinventing this timeless tradition within the context of contemporary art.


Quick Facts

  • The caves of Lascaux are one of the earliest examples of figural drawing. These drawings etched on caves in the Dordogne region include more than 900 images of humans, cattle, and other animal life from this period
  • A figural drawing relates to any work that centers around the human body whether clothed or nude
  • The tradition of drawing the human body appears as a predominant aspect of virtually every culture’s artistic legacy. Many of the most famous works of art, such as "Venus of Orbino" by Titian, depict the nude female body

Recommended Items at Auction

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ANTON CETIN Untitled - Woman with Colourful Bird
Feb 25, 1:00 PM CST
ANTON CETIN Untitled - Woman with Colourful Bird
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $400- $500
$34012 Bids
ROBERT DICKERSON, 1924-2015, The Lawyers, Charcoal, 54 x 75cm Frame size 59 x 79cm
Feb 27, 7:00 PM AEDT
ROBERT DICKERSON, 1924-2015, The Lawyers, Charcoal, 54 x 75cm Frame size 59 x 79cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD1,3009 Bids
Clyde Singer Charcoal Drawing, Young Woman in Profile
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
Clyde Singer Charcoal Drawing, Young Woman in Profile
by Neue Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$4257 Bids
Howard Finster (1916-2001) Signed and Dated Ink and Paint on Wood, Preacher
Feb 25, 10:00 AM PST
Howard Finster (1916-2001) Signed and Dated Ink and Paint on Wood, Preacher
by Hughes Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$3505 Bids
Chris Ofili (British, b. 1968) - Untitled
Feb 27, 12:00 PM EST
Chris Ofili (British, b. 1968) - Untitled
by Freeman's | Hindman
Est: $5,000- $8,000
$5,0004 Bids
Norman McLaren 1946 Abstract Figural Sketch
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Norman McLaren 1946 Abstract Figural Sketch
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $50- $15,000
$804 Bids
Norman McLaren 1946 Abstract Figural Sketch
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Norman McLaren 1946 Abstract Figural Sketch
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $50- $15,000
$804 Bids
Eyre Crowe (1824-1910) Drawing On Paper
Feb 24, 10:00 AM MST
Eyre Crowe (1824-1910) Drawing On Paper
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$203 Bids
Norman McLaren Signed Abstract Figural Drawing
Feb 24, 11:00 AM EST
Norman McLaren Signed Abstract Figural Drawing
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $50- $15,000
$803 Bids
Albert Sterner (1863-1946) unsigned drawing from his estate
Feb 29, 5:00 PM EST
Albert Sterner (1863-1946) unsigned drawing from his estate
by East Coast Books
Est: $100- $150
$502 Bids
Scott Lenhardt- 3- piece lot, Ross Powers #5 "Tree Engine" ca.2004.ink on paper graphic, 1--sketch and1- snowboard
Mar 03, 6:00 PM EST
Scott Lenhardt- 3- piece lot, Ross Powers #5 "Tree Engine" ca.2004.ink on paper graphic, 1--sketch and1- snowboard
by Nathan Auction & Real Estate Inc.
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,5002 Bids
Pinchas Litvinovsky (Israeli - Russian, 1894-1985)
Feb 28, 8:00 PM IST
Pinchas Litvinovsky (Israeli - Russian, 1894-1985)
by Yair Art Gallery
Est: $0- $0
$1502 Bids
GROUP OF ORIGINAL VINTAGE FASHION DESIGN DRAWINGS
Feb 28, 3:00 PM EST
GROUP OF ORIGINAL VINTAGE FASHION DESIGN DRAWINGS
by Austin York LLC
Est: $30- $60
$201 Bid
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Lot of 38 | Tattoo Sketches
Feb 25, 1:00 PM PST
Lot of 38 | Tattoo Sketches
by Pasadena Antique Warehouse
Est: $5- $300
$51 Bid
Jean Michel Basquiat (New York 1960 - 1988), (after), Figure
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Jean Michel Basquiat (New York 1960 - 1988), (after), Figure
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €250- €450
€2401 Bid
John Bellany CBE RA,  Scottish 1942-2013 -  Woman of the North Sea;  char
Mar 12, 2:30 PM GMT
John Bellany CBE RA,  Scottish 1942-2013 -  Woman of the North Sea;  char
by Roseberys
Est: £600- £800
£4201 Bid
Mark Kostabi "Visible Sound" Original Drawing on Paper
Feb 24, 7:00 AM PST
Mark Kostabi "Visible Sound" Original Drawing on Paper
by BK Auctions
Est: $3,000- $4,000
$11 Bid
Vladislav Shalamov, 1929-2002 (Ukraine)
Feb 27, 5:00 PM GMT
Vladislav Shalamov, 1929-2002 (Ukraine)
by Cultural Traditions
Est: £50- £100
£251 Bid
Keith Haring (Reading, Pennsylvania 1958 - 1990 New York) (after)
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Keith Haring (Reading, Pennsylvania 1958 - 1990 New York) (after)
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €400- €700
€4001 Bid
Keith Haring (Reading, Pennsylvania 1958 - 1990 New York) (after)
Mar 04, 7:00 PM CET
Keith Haring (Reading, Pennsylvania 1958 - 1990 New York) (after)
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €400- €700
€4001 Bid
Fini Leonor - A cat - The sorceress
Mar 02, 1:00 PM CET
Fini Leonor - A cat - The sorceress
by De Vuyst
Est: €1,600- €2,000
€1,5001 Bid
Dodeigne Eugène - Mother and child
Mar 02, 1:00 PM CET
Dodeigne Eugène - Mother and child
by De Vuyst
Est: €1,500- €2,000
€1,4001 Bid
Keith Haring (D’après)
Feb 28, 8:00 PM EST
Keith Haring (D’après)
by VBA Auction Miami
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$7501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Figural Drawings


Roseberys

Roseberys

Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

De Vuyst

De Vuyst

VBA Auction Miami

VBA Auction Miami