Editor's note: The Haggerty Museum of Art provided
source material to Resource Library for the following article or
essay. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material,
please contact The Haggerty Museum of Art directly through either this phone
number or web address:
Portraits of Women: Re-seeing
April 24 - July 13, 2008
The Portraits of
Women: Re-seeing the Collection exhibition showcases nine portraits
of women by twentieth century painters, printmakers and photographers. The
exhibition includes George Hurrell's photograph of Dorothy Lamour, Richard
Lindner's superheroine Standing Woman, and Dawoud Bey's Syretta,
a contemporary portrait of an adolescent girl.
Wall text from the exhibition
Portraits of Women: Re-seeing the Collection
The Haggerty Museum recently acquired a 6-panel photograph
by artist Dawoud Bey. Syretta is an intimate dialogue between artist
and sitter, and at the same time, because of its size, medium and fractured
delivery, a celebration of an empowered woman. The impact of this photograph
poses questions about different portraits in the museum's collection, suggesting
the opportunity to re-see other artist's interpretations of their subjects.
A portrait's intent is to display a likeness, a personality,
or possibly the mood of the sitter. Time is always an essential element,
whether revealed by the costume of the sitter, the stylistic approach of
a particular moment, or the status of the celebrity. The works in this exhibition
vary dramatically in medium and approach, spanning nearly a century in time.
Each one, however, draws upon the sitter's power over the will of the artist.
Label copy from the exhibition
- Baron Adolf de Meyer
- French (1868-1949)
- Miss J. Ranken, 1912
- 11 x 8 inches
- Gift of Therese and Murray Weiss
- Described as the founder of American fashion photography,
Baron Adolf de Meyer was commissioned to photograph, not only, society
women, like Miss Ranken, but also the models, theatrical personalities
and dancers of the 1910s and 20s. They appreciated the soft, nostalgic
quality of his images, which came from the process the artist used to create
them. De Meyer was a pictorialist, who worked in photogravure. Developed
in the 1830s,this intaglio printmaking process, which merges photography
and printmaking, was the most popular before the advent of modernism.
- While born in Paris, de Meyer was educated in Dresden
and then moved to London, where he joined the Royal Photographic Society
in 1893. Five years later, he became part of the avant-garde photo-secessionist
group known as The Linked Ring. In 1899, he married Olga Caracciolo,
a professional model and socialite. Through his wife's contacts, de Meyer
befriended a number of European and American celebrities, whom he then
photographed. In 1908, Alfred Stieglitz published some of de Meyer's images
in Camera Work including Miss J. Ranken. Six years later,
de Meyer moved to New York to become the first full-time photographer for
- Henri Matisse
- French (1869-1954)
- Study for Woman in Hat, 1919
- 9 1/2 x 6 ? inches
- Bequest of Mrs. Martha Smith
- The great colorist, Henri Matisse was also a printmaker
who worked in engraving, etching, aquatint, and lithography. The subjects
of his prints were primarily women, interiors and still lifes. Study
for Woman in Hat is a highly expressive portrait of a fashionable woman
with piercing eyes. It was created with an economy of line that is testament
to the artist's skill at capturing the personality of his sitter.
- Matisse's engravings consist of what have been described
as traits essentiels or "essential lines." His prints
often reflect immediate ideas, and were rarely reworked. In fact, engraving
was a refuge for Matisse. He often made prints at the end of a painting
session. According Marguerite Duthuit-Matisse, co-author of a catalogue
raisonné of her father's prints, Matisse saw his graphic work as
an "agreeable conclusion" to a day in the studio.
- Martel Schwichtenberg
- German (1896-1945)
- Seated Woman with Flowers,
- Oil on canvas
- 37 1/4 x 30 ? inches
- Gift of Marvin and Janet Fishman
- Martel Schwichtenberg is the only female artist featured
in this exhibition. Unlike her male counterparts, she does not glamorize,
or idealize her subject the way Adolf de Meyer, George Hurrell and Andy
Warhol do in their work. The model in Seated Woman with Flowers
is somewhat awkward. She has a large head and oversized hands. While the
artist has given us a figural composition-a woman sitting in a garden with
flowers- this is simply the starting point for a painting about color.
The work has an abstract quality that reflects the influence of Die
Brücke (The Bridge), the German expressionists who started working
together in 1905. Schwichtenberg's work was admired by her contemporaries
and she exhibited on a regular basis with Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.
- Ernst Fritsch
- German (1892-1965)
- Woman with Babushka, 1927
- Oil on canvas
- 33 1/8 x 25 inches
- Gift of Marvin and Janet Fishman
- A revival of portrait painting took place in Germany
between World War I and II. Artists, such as Ernst Fritsch, painted portraits,
not of the wealthy but of the working class. Often characterized by grim
social realism, these paintings reflect neue sachlichkeit, or the
new objectivity in art which defined the times.
- A member of the Berlin Secession (1919 -1932), Fritsch
concentrated on producing compelling images of laborers in the 1920s, such
as Woman with Babushka. In this half-length portrait, the woman
sits in a simple landscape framed by the brick of two factory buildings.
She wears a headscarf characteristic of those worn by Russian peasant women.
In her tattered clothes, she stares blankly out from the canvas. Her lack
of emotion reflects both her state of mind and the malaise that characterized
the interwar period.
- George Hurrell
- American (1904-1992)
- Dorothy Lamour from Portfolio
- Gelatin silver print
- 24 x 20 inches
- Gift of Mr. Curran Redman
- This photograph of Dorothy Lamour comes from George Hurrell's
Portfolio II, a collection of 8 Hollywood stars from the 1930s.
In 1936, the year Hurrell took her photograph,Lamour (1914-1996) played
the role of Ulah in The Jungle Princess. One of the most
popular motion picture actresses at the time, sheis perhaps best-knownfor
appearing with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the Road to... movies,
a string of successful comedies from the 1940s to the early 1950s.
- While later known as the "Grand Seigneur of the
Hollywood Portrait," George Hurrell started his career as a painter.
After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago, he was commissioned, in
1925, to photograph paintings of the Laguna Beach Art Colony in California.
In 1930, he became the head of the MGM portrait gallery and shot the leading
actors and actresses of his day. His talent was in creating incredibly
luminous images wherein his sitters became the ultimate icons of fashion
and goddesses of beauty. With his photographs, Hurrell set a new high standard
for Hollywood portraits. As a result, the genre became known as glamour
- Andy Warhol
- American (1928-1987)
- Liz, 1964
- Offset lithograph
- Unnumbered edition of 300
- 23 1/8 x 23 1/8 inches
- Publisher: Leo Castelli Gallery, New York
- Bequest of Mrs. Martha Smith
- Andy Warhol embraced not only the banal in society, but
also the glamorous. His interest in pop culture manifested itself early
on in his childhood collection of autographed celebrity photographs. Warhol
bought and read teen magazines and tabloids to stay current on what was
hip, even into adulthood. Driven by the desire to become famous, he moved
to New York City and worked as a commercial artist and illustrator after
studying at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh.
- By using images and ideas from popular culture, he redefined
what constitutes a work of art. Icons in society from political leaders
to Hollywood celebrities became fodder for prints, which, by their very
nature, challenge the concept of a singular work of art. For Warhol, this
meant creating serial works of images appropriated from magazines, newspapers,
or directly from publicity photographs. For example, Warhol used
a publicity shot from c.1960 for his Liz, 1964. The original photograph
(shown above) was commissioned by Columbia Pictures studios to promote
the film, Suddenly Last Summer, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz in
- Richard Lindner
- German (1901-1978)
- Standing Woman, 1971
- From the Shoot series
- Serigraph, Edition 40/100
- 40 ? x 29 5/16 inches
- Gift of Mr. George Friedman and Ms. Diane Love
- Highly imaginative and personal, Richard Lindner's style
has been described by art critics as "mechanistic cubism." His
prints-as seen in this example-have overtones of the 1930s cabaret culture
in Berlin. Flat areas of often strong colors, separated by highly defined
edges, even the suggestion of a high-heeled shoe, belt or part of a bustier,
populate his figures. His subjects, too, seem to come from the cabaret.
His women are archetypal costumed performers-garish and generic-rather
then specific individuals.
- According to Claus Clement, "[Lindner was] driven
by weird eroticism... He started his career as an artist at the age of
40 in New York. In this metropolitan jungle, Lindner created his oeuvre:
exciting and powerful images of robot-like figures, amazons and heroines,
harlequinades of self-styled heroes- his artistic panorama of the unruly
60s and 70s of the 20th century."
- Lindner was most certainly influenced by his past. His
mother, Mina, owned a business selling custom-fit corsets. After studying
in Nuremberg and Munich, he became the art director of Knorr
and Hirth publishing. A political activist, Lindner fled Germany for Paris
when the National Socialist Party came to power in 1933. In 1941, he escaped
Europe and began working as an illustrator in New York City. His work after
1965 explored gender roles in the media including the use of sex symbols
- Joseph Raffael
- American (b. 1933)
- Lannis in Sieste X, 1988
- From the Lannis in Sieste series
- Watercolor on paper
- 62 ? x 44 ? inches
- Gift of Allen and Vicki Samson
- Often based on photographs, Joseph Raffael's large-scale
watercolors, as exemplified by Lannis in Sieste X, are influenced
by the artist's early work in textile design. He started his career designing
fabric patterns for the Jack Price Textile Studio in New York.
- In 1981, Raffael met Lannis Wood, personal counselor
and tarot teacher. Five years later they married and she became the subject
of numerous paintings. In 1988, while living in France, Raffael began the
Lannis in Sieste series. This group of paintings features over a
dozen of his wife in repose. In Lannis in Sieste X, shown here,
the artist has become obsessed with the decorative pattern of her dress.
He extends the floral design of her clothes to the surrounding sheets making
the work a multi-colored abstraction, as much as a portrait of a woman
- Dawoud Bey
- American (b. 1953)
- Syretta, 1996
- Dye diffusion transfer prints
- 94 x 48 inches
- Haggerty Art Acquisition Fund
- Since the mid-1990s, Dawoud Bey has created personal,
intimate, and engaging portraits of young people that thwart stereotypical
representations of urban youth. In Syretta, 1996, a young woman,
whom the work is titled after, averts her gaze in a gesture of self-consciousness.
Through his portraits, Bey seeks to draw attention to the relationship
between the artist, subject, and viewer, underscoring the power of the
sitter's gaze to engage, confront, or avoid the viewer.
- He employs a 20-by-24-inch Polaroid camera to photograph
parts of the sitter then reassembles the fragmented portrait. The
resulting 6 panel image has a sense of energetic transition. Bey has said
that he chooses to photograph teenagers because, "My interest in young
people has to do with the fact that they are the arbiters of style in the
community; their appearance speaks most strongly of how a community of
people defines themselves at a particular historical moment."
Resource Library readers may also
Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional
source by visiting the sub-index page for the Haggerty
Museum of Art in Resource Library.
Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.
Copyright 2008 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights