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The Many Faces of Cleveland: A Century of Portraiture
March 1 through April 27, 2002
In an exhibition that might well be termed the most eclectic of the year for the Cleveland Artists Foundation, The Many Faces of Cleveland: A Century of Portraiture will present an exciting visual anthology of portraiture produced in Cleveland over the course of the last century. The exhibition will be displayed salon style and will showcase the various ways in which portraiture was interpreted by artists from this region from 1900 to the present. Over 75 works by 50 artists will be included. The curator of the exhibition, Marianne Berardi, the newly appointed director of the Cleveland Artists Foundation, will present a gallery talk at 7:15 pm during the March 1 opening reception. (left: Rolf Stoll, Portrait of a Woman (Alice Stanger), oil on canvas, Collection of Donald Boncela)
While not intended as an exhaustive presentation of this vast subject (such an effort would require at least three times the exhibition space), this exhibition offers an opportunity to explore an extensive range of work by many of the region's most celebrated and distinguished artists who worked in the genre. Included, too, are several lesser-known artists as well as those who had once enjoyed greater reputations but who have faded from the artistic spotlight. Notably, this exhibition of over 75 works focuses upon the work of artists for whom portraiture was not an occasional sideline, but rather a specialty, or at the very least, an intensive focus of their art for a period of time.
While the exhibit will, by nature of its subject, have an obvious historical element, it will not be organized in a rigid chronological manner from the early Cleveland School efforts to more contemporary interpretations of the subject. Rather, the presentation underscores the aim of the show, which is to explore the ways in which portraiture was studied, practiced, and interpreted by artists who lived and/or worked for a time in this region.
To this end, the exhibition will be organized into several specific thematic categories suggested by the body of work itself, rather than the other way around. These include the following: the traditional formal portrait; the self-portrait and surrogate self-portrait; the casual (genre) portrait which blurs the line between portraiture and other subjects such as landscape and interior scenes of everyday life; portraits of artists by other artists; the historical and/or posthumous portrait; the symbolic portrait; and the cartoon and caricature. (right: Douglas Utter, Portrait of C. M., 1999, oil and mixed media on canvas, Collection of the Artist)
In terms of sitters, the show will be a virtual pictorial history of the art world of Cleveland, as well as the famous and infamous in politics, business, culture, philanthropy, and entertainment. A few of the well-known sitters include Dr. Paul Rea (first director of the Natural History Museum of Cleveland) by Alexander Warshawsky, Henry Bailey Turner (first director of the Cleveland School of Art) portrayed in a bronze bust by Alexander Blazys, John "Jack" Roper (a well-known columnist for The Cleveland Press and a past president of the City Club of Cleveland as well as a charter member of their "Soviet Table") by Abel Warshawsky, and Berenice Kent (a colorful local art and antiques dealer) by Phyllis Sloane.
Oil and watercolor painting dominates the show in terms of media. However, prominent examples of work in sculpture, printmaking, drawing and photography are included as well to present a fuller picture of the ways in which portraiture was explored.
And since portrait drawing and its closely connected discipline of anatomy drawing formed an integral part of the artistic curriculum at the Cleveland School of Art (Cleveland Institute of Art) -- where many of the artists in the exhibit taught and/or trained -- there will be a didactic section for the exhibition illustrating the academic method of capturing a likeness and rendering the human body. Student notebooks and sketchbooks will be shown. (left: Frederick C. Gottwald, The Dreamer, 1918, oil on canvas, CAF Collection)
A sampling of artists represented in the exhibition include, among others: Elmer Novotny, Edith Stevenson Wright, Abel and Alexander Warshawsky; John Teyral, Hazel Janicki Teyral, William Sommer, Paul Travis, Donald Boncela, Kim Schoel, Alexandre Iacobleff, Gloria Plevin, John Csosz, Douglas Max Utter, Shirley Aley Campbell, Viktor Schreckengost, Rolf Stoli, Sander Vago, Phyllis Sloane, Marsha Sweet, Wray Manning, William Zorach, Edris Eckhardt, William Edmonson, George Admomeit, Natalie Grauer, Anna Arnold, Charles Murphy, Ann Caywood Brown, Kathleen McKenna, Eileen Ingalls, Avis Andres, Jose Cintron, Jean and Paul Ulen, Nancy Bunch Sheridan, Kalman Kubinyi, Ron Johnston, Louise B. Maloney, Alexander Blazys, Alice Sands, Dorothy Rutka, Willard Combes, Clara Mclean Sargeant and Frank Wilcox. Many of the works chosen for the exhibit were shown in the Cleveland Museum of Art's May Shows, and represent some of the finer achievements by the artists. Work for this exhibition is drawn from private, public, corporate, educational and government collections.
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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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