Friday, July 7, 2017

Actual People

I love this idea of what my father refers to on his art blog Spencer Alley as the Individual Painted Likeness. Every now and then you see a painting that looks, not--as many paintings do--like some sort of generalized or idealized person*, but rather exactly like some particular living and breathing person who walked down the street in their day, and who you can easily imagine seeing walking down your street in your day. The face of an actual person. My dad has gathered a whole group of such images created between 1900 and 1910, and I am pilfering my few favorites from that group to show you here.

*This is not to say that the paintings of generalized faces cannot also be wonderful and enjoyable (indeed, representational art would be in big trouble were that the case), just that these sorts of images are wonderful and enjoyable in their own separate way.

Above: Richard Gerstl

Hugh Ramsay

Helen Margaret Spanton

Edmund Charles Tarbell

Max Slevogt

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Thérèse Schwartze

William Sergeant Kendall

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