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Close Looking at Three Portraits of Poet Frank O'Hara

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Arts Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

This teaching collection uses Project Zero thinking and other portrait reading strategies to look critically at and compare  three portraits of Francis Russell "FrankO'Hara (March 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966), an American writer, poet, art critic, and curator at the Museum of Modern Art. O'Hara, who was considered to be one of the most important poets of mid-twentieth-century America, died an untimely death at age 40, and is memorialized in these three portraits in the Smithsonian collections - by Grace Hartigan, Alice Neel, and Don Bachardy.

This collection is set up to first look carefully at Grace Hartigan's portrait, using one or all of three suggested looking strategies. Then viewers can look at the other two portraits, considering additional information about sitter Frank O'Hara and the artists, in order to have a better sense of the three portraits, the sitter, the artists, and the times in which they created.

Keywords: Portraiture, Abstract Expressionism, Expressionist, Avant-Garde, Irish