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Peter Hurd

National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Hart Benton

National Portrait Gallery

Carl Wimar Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Edwin Austin Abbey

National Portrait Gallery

Jean Charlot (with Zohmah Charlot)

National Portrait Gallery
Jean Charlot’s career as an artist, writer, and professor spanned several decades and multiple countries. He studied art in Paris before the outbreak of World War I, and in 1921, after the war had ended, he moved to Mexico, the birthplace of his maternal grandfather. While there, he absorbed local art traditions and worked alongside Diego Rivera and other members of the Mexican avant-garde. Charlot moved in circles with other visiting artists, too, including the American photographer Edward Weston who lived in Mexico between 1923 and 1926.

Weston took this photograph of Charlot and Zohmah Day, in 1933, when the couple was visiting him in Carmel, California. By then, Charlot had settled in New York City, where he helped foster the burgeoning American muralist tradition, through his art and through his research and criticism. Charlot taught at a number of American institutions before becoming a professor of art at the University of Hawaii in 1949.

La carrera de Jean Charlot como artista, escritor y profesor abarcó varias décadas y múltiples países. Estudió arte en París antes de que estallara la Primera Guerra Mundial, y en 1921, después de la guerra, se trasladó a México, país natal de su abuelo materno. Allí absorbió las tradiciones del arte local y trabajó junto a Diego Rivera y otros miembros de la vanguardia mexicana. Frecuentaba también a otros artistas visitantes, como el fotógrafo estadounidense Edward Weston, quien vivió en México entre 1923 y 1926.

Weston tomó esta fotografía de Charlot y Zohmah Day en 1933, cuando la pareja lo visitó en Carmel, California. Para entonces Charlot se había radicado en la ciudad de Nueva York, donde ayudó a promover la floreciente tradición muralista del país, tanto con su obra artística como con sus investigaciones y trabajo de crítica. Charlot impartió clases en varias instituciones estadounidenses antes de aceptar un puesto como profesor de arte en la Universidad de Hawái en 1949.

Carl Wimar

National Portrait Gallery
Carl Wimar aspired to establish a reputation as the painter of the American West. Immigrating to St. Louis in 1844, Wimar became interested at an early age in the region's history and Native peoples. He apprenticed with a local house and steamboat painter before deciding to pursue academic study in Düsseldorf, Germany, with artist Emanuel Leutze. Returning to St. Louis in 1856, Wimar began to make regular sketching trips out onto the frontier to better understand the subject he longed to paint. His canvases tended to perpetuate mythic ideas about the West and the Native Americans who lived there, yet he was one of the earliest painters to devote himself exclusively to this subject. Wimar's paintings attracted favorable comment, and in 1861 he was commissioned to create four murals to decorate the dome of the new St. Louis Courthouse. Wimar completed the series but died of tuberculosis shortly thereafter at age thirty-four.

Keith Haring

National Portrait Gallery
"How can it be possible that apartheid [in South Africa] still exists? Dr. King was speaking against it 20 years ago," wrote artist Keith Haring in exasperation in 1988. Martin Roy's photograph pictures Haring on a New York City subway platform posing beside one of his celebrated white chalk drawings. In this and other works during a meteoric career that lasted just over a decade, Haring demonstrated a commitment to various political and social causes, including apartheid, nuclear disarmament, and especially the AIDS crisis. Although some art critics expressed concern about his efforts to market his work to a mass audience, Haring believed that art should be as accessible as possible: "You can't just stay in your studio and paint; that's not the most effective way to communicate."

Willem de Kooning

National Portrait Gallery

David Alfaro Sequeiros

National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Hart Benton

National Portrait Gallery

Frida and Diego Rivera

Catalog of American Portraits

Thomas Hart Benton

National Portrait Gallery

Herman Perlman Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Violet Oakley

National Portrait Gallery

Arshile Gorky

National Portrait Gallery

Peter Hurd Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery

Lyonel Feininger

National Portrait Gallery

Willem de Kooning

National Portrait Gallery

Jack Beal Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery
When Jack Beal won a commission to paint murals for the U.S. Department of Labor in 1974, he built a new studio whose skylights appear in the background of this lithograph. Beal, one of the few realist artists of his era to paint from life rather than from photographs, thoughtfully reinterpreted what he saw in the mirror. Here, he shaped the fall of the light so that his visor’s shadow would cut his face diagonally in half and leave his eyes intriguingly obscured. Beal chose to show himself in a long-sleeved plaid shirt whose grid of lines let him model the fabric’s surface while compositionally balancing the diagonals of the skylights. As in all his realist art, he marshaled every element in the image to communicate his own ideas. Beal asks us to imagine that the realm inside the image is, as he once put it, “a world that is as real as this world.”

Cuando Jack Beal obtuvo el encargo de pintar murales para el Departamento del Trabajo de Estados Unidos en 1974, se construyó un taller nuevo cuyos tragaluces son el fondo de esta lito- grafía. Siendo uno de los pocos artistas realistas de su época que pintaban del natural y no a partir de fotos, Beal se miraba al espejo para retratarse y reinterpretaba meditadamente lo que veía. Aquí colocó la caída de la luz de modo que la sombra de su visera corta su cara en diagonal y le oscurece los ojos de manera enigmática. Beal se representa con una camisa escocesa de mangas largas, cuyo estampado en cuadrícula le permite modelar la superficie de la tela a la vez que contrapesa en la composición las líneas diagonales de los tragaluces. Como en todas su obras, ha manejado cada elemento de la imagen para comunicar sus ideas particulares y nos pide imaginar que el ámbito de la imagen es, como decía, “un mundo tan real como este mundo”.

Willem de Kooning

National Portrait Gallery
In this portrait of Willem de Kooning, whose career as an Abstract Expressionist painter was just taking off in the early 1950s, the seated pose is open and informal and Willem’s facial features are essentially missing. However, the outlines of the head and body define individual likeness through sharp, jagged strokes of paint and contrasts of dark and light within a field of warm color.

Elaine drew and painted her husband often during the early to mid-1950s. This painting makes clear her interest in individual bodies and their recognizability. As she wrote in 1959, "I love the particular gesture of a particular expression or stance. I’m enthralled by the gesture of the silhouette (for portraits or anything else), the instantaneous illumination that enables you to recognize your father or a friend three blocks away."

Este retrato sentado de Willem de Kooning es de principios de los años cincuenta, cuando su carrera como pintor expresionista abstracto apenas estaba despegando. La pose es franca e informal, y las facciones son básicamente inexistentes. No obstante, la individualidad del sujeto queda definida en el trazado de la cabeza y el cuerpo con pinceladas firmes, de bordes accidentados, y contrastes de luz y sombra en un campo de colores cálidos.

Elaine dibujó y pintó a su esposo con frecuencia durante 1950–55. Esta pintura evidencia su interés en individualizar los cuerpos y hacerlos reconocibles. Tal como escribe en 1959, “Me gusta el gesto particular de una expresión o una postura. Me fascina el gesto de la silueta (en retratos o cualquier otra cosa), ese esclarecimiento instantáneo que te permite reconocer a tu padre o a un amigo a tres cuadras de distancia”.

Self-Portrait, Peterborough 57

National Portrait Gallery
Xavier Gonzalez was a painter, sculptor, and educator who was active in New York City and Wellfleet, Massachusetts. He was born in Almeria, Spain, but experienced a nomadic childhood in Spain, Mexico, and San Antonio, Texas. While his works draw from reality, he manipulated what he saw to conform to his vision and reflect a modern sensibility. In this self-portrait, which Gonzalez created in the middle of his life, a serious man looks out at the viewer with a determined set to his jaw. His round glasses, accented by prominent eyebrows, magnify his eyes and frame his penetrating gaze. The skillful use of ink with a light wash of paint translates human energy to a sheet of paper, capturing the artist’s spirit. Gonzalez stated that he had “to approach painting indirectly, slowly, because a painting like a flower can die from too much handling. The overstatement of a truth kills it.”

El pintor, escultor y educador Xavier González estuvo activo en Nueva York y Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Nació en Almería, España, pero tuvo una niñez nómada entre España, México y San Antonio, Texas. Aunque su obra parte de la realidad, manipula lo observado para adaptarlo a su visión y reflejar una sensibilidad moderna. En este autorretrato que hizo González en mitad de su vida, un hombre serio mira al espectador con actitud decidida. Sus lentes redondos, acentuados por las prominentes cejas, le agrandan los ojos y enmarcan su mirada penetrante. El hábil uso de la tinta con una ligera aguada de pintura transmite al papel una energía humana, captando el espíritu del artista. González comentó que tenía que “acercarme a la pintura de manera indirecta, lentamente, porque una pintura, igual que una flor, puede marchitarse de mucho manosearla. La exageración mata la verdad”.

José Clemente Orozco

National Portrait Gallery
Born Jalisco, Mexico

Together with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco was a member of “Los tres grandes,” who through their monumental mural paintings in Mexican government buildings pioneered the first modern public art movement of the Americas. Orozco started his artistic career as a caricaturist for newspapers and an army illustrator during the Mexican Revolutionary War (1910–20). Early on, he had developed an aesthetic and subject matter that were dramatic, often violent, and always committed to human values.

In the wake of the Great Depression and the emergence of the New Deal, Mexican Muralism became a model for democratic, uplifting art that informed the work of such American artists as Ben Shahn. Orozco’s best-known U.S. commissions include Prometheus at Pomona College, California, and the mural cycle The Epic of American Civilization at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.

Nacido en Jalisco, México

Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros y José Clemente Orozco fueron “los tres grandes” del muralismo mexicano, cuyas monumentales pinturas en edificios públicos inauguraron el movimiento del arte público moderno en las Américas. Orozco comenzó su carrera haciendo caricaturas en la prensa y como ilustrador para el ejército insurrecto durante la Revolución Mexicana (1910–20). Desde temprano desarrolló una estética y temática de gran dramatismo, a menudo violenta, y siempre comprometida con lo valores humanos.

En tiempos de la Gran Depresión y el New Deal, el muralismo mexicano se convirtió en modelo de un arte democrático e inspirador que influyó en artistas estadounidenses como Ben Shahn. Entre las obras encargadas a Orozco en Estados Unidos se destacan Prometeo en Pomona College, California, y el ciclo mural Épica de la civilización americana en Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.

John from De Puro Corazon series

National Portrait Gallery
A master of acrylic airbrushed paintings, Gaspar Enriquez has for many decades created paintings that focus on Chicano identity. His work ranges from large-scale, wall-sized work to small illustrations focusing on Mexican American life, and subjects who range from neighbors to celebrities. Often his portraits depict fellow artists and others from his community in El Paso and beyond. This large likeness of Los Angeles painter John Valadez is part of an ongoing project called De Puro Corazon (Pure Heart), which includes portraits of artists he admires for their passionate dedication to their practice. Created in a gray scale, reflecting its photographic source, the portrait is a confrontational image, capturing the dramatic intensity of his friend.

Maestro de la pintura acrílica con aerógrafo, Gaspar Enríquez lleva décadas creando obras centradas en la identidad chicana. Su trabajo abarca desde obras a gran escala, que cubren toda una pared, hasta pequeñas escenas de la vida mexicoamericana, y sus modelos van desde vecinos hasta celebridades. A menudo retrata a colegas artistas, incluidos los de su comunidad en El Paso. Este retrato en gran formato del pintor John Valadez, oriundo de Los Ángeles, forma parte de un proyecto en curso llamado De puro corazón, que incluye retratos de artistas que Enríquez admira por su dedicación apasionada a su oficio. Ejecutado en tonos de grises, lo cual refleja su origen fotográfico, este retrato es una imagen provocadora que capta la intensidad dramática de su amigo.

Everett Shinn Self-Portrait

National Portrait Gallery
By 1901, when he drew this self-portrait, Everett Shinn was an acclaimed illustrator and pastel artist whose bright impressionist palette was very popular. In this drawing, he displays his theatrical personality in muted tones, vivid colors, and a downturned face. Recognizing that a degree of dramatic posturing was expected of an artist, he assumed the role of a brooding romantic and paid tribute to the cele- brated actress Julia Marlowe in an inscription. In 1908, the artist—who is best remembered as one of the Ashcan painters of urban scenes—sent a sketch of himself posing for publicity photos to fellow Ashcan artist John Sloan. “Great fun. being an artist. with temperament,” Shinn quipped.

Para 1901, cuando realizó este autorretrato, Everett Shinn era un aclamado ilustrador y dibujante al pastel cuya brillante paleta impresionista era muy popular. En este dibujo despliega su personalidad teatral en tonos apagados, colores vívidos y postura cabizbaja. Sabiendo que de un artista se espera cierto grado de dramatismo, aquí asume el papel de un romántico taciturno y rinde homenaje en una inscripción a la célebre actriz Julia Marlowe. En 1908, este artista —recordado como miembro de la Escuela Ashcan, grupo dedicado a pintar escenas urbanas— envió un boceto de sí mismo posando para fotos publicitarias a otro artista de la Ashcan, John Sloan. “Muy divertido, ser un artista con temperamento”, escribió Shinn en broma.
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