Contemplating Character: Portrait Drawings and Oil Sketches from Jacques-Louis David to Lucian Freud

Robert Flynn Johnson

Contemplating Character

CONTEMPLATING CHARACTER: Portrait Drawings and Oil Sketches from Jacques-Louis David to Lucian Freud explores the evolution of portraiture from the end of the 18th century until the present.

In contrast to portraiture as the tired flattery of the rich and powerful, the invigorating new movements of Neoclassicism, Romanticism, and Realism that took hold of art at the end of the 18th century and into the 19th century were the result of a desire for a sense of “unvarnished truth”; as a result,  a more honest and gritty incisiveness of depiction emerged. By the 20th century, the hallmark of the portrait was individuality; a sense of personality was primary.

The book is divided into seven sections:

  • ARTIST SELF-PORTRAITS, including Gustave Dore, Richard (“Mad”) Dadd, Adolf von Menzel, Roderic O’Conor, Antonio Mancini, Edouard Vuillard, Leon Spillaert , Frank Brangwyn, Dora Maar, David Levine, and Alfred Hitchcock
  • PORTRAITS OF ARTISTS, including portraits of Jacques-Louis David by Delafontaine and J. B. Isabey, Henry Fuseli by William Etty, William Blake by George Richmond, Samuel Palmer by John Linnel, John Ruskin by Samuel Laurence, Odilon Redon by Claude-Emile Schuffenecker, Alfred von Menzel by William Rothenstein, Max Klinger by Emil Orlik, and Thomas Eakins by Mrs. Palmer
  • FAMILY, portraits of wives, lovers, children, close friends by Sir Thomas Lawrence, John Linnell, Francis Danby, Daniel Maclise, Adolf von Menzel, Edward Burne Jones, George Bellows, and Lucien Freud
  • UNKNOWN SITTERS AS SUBJECTS, portraits by Louis-Léopold Boilly, Théodore Chasseriau , William Mulready, Richard Dadd, Adolf von Menzel, Jean-Jacques Henner
  • FAME, portraits of famous individuals, including George Washington, André Chenier, Washington Irving, Ellen André, Henry Irving, Oscar Wilde
  • DRAMA AND IMAGINATION, images by Baron Gerard and Girodet, Auguste Edouart Richard Dadd, Nicholas Sternberg, R. Crumb
  • REPOSE and ENDINGS, images by William Henry Hunt, Théodore Rousseau, Hans Bellmer, Lucian Freud, Carpeaux

ISBN: 978-1938901805 • $49.95

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Here’s a podcast about the exhibit!