The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, October 27, 2016

"Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction" opens at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington
Marilyn Monroe by Willem de Kooning, 1954. Oil on canvas, 127 x 76.2cm. Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York; gift of Roy R. Neuberger. Photograph by Jim Frank© The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
WASHINGTON, DC.- After World War II, as American Abstract Expressionists attained international prominence, portraiture, as one critic expressed it, came “to a dead halt.” Another declaimed authoritatively that a progressive artist could no longer paint the figure. In the late 1960s, when Chuck Close started making his large heads, he recalled that “the dumbest, most moribund, out-of-date, and shopworn of possible things you could do was to make a portrait.” While figurative art declined between 1945 and 1975 in response to this prejudice, a number of artists, after fully immersing themselves in the lessons of abstraction, self-consciously and often defiantly took up the challenge of reinventing portraiture. Women and minorities, excluded from the artistic mainstream but flexing new muscles, also invigorated traditions with powerful political or humanistic themes.

Against the background of a post–World War II cultural resurgence in music, poetry, theater, and film—as well as Cold War paranoia and the growing activism regarding civil rights, the Vietnam War, feminism, and other movements—midcentury artists challenged the stereotype of homogenous American life by reassessing the individual. Keenly aware of the disdain for tradition, these artists chose to explore figurative imagery deliberately. While never forming a single style or school, their artworks exploited the themes and aesthetics of their generation and reinvigorated portraiture as a progressive art form. The public enthusiasm for the 1976 exhibition of portraits that Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth made of each other signaled a rebirth in the art world of the age-old impulse for human portrayal.

“Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction” features mid-20th century artists who were reinventing portraiture at a moment when most agreed that figuration was dead as a progressive art form. Chuck Close recalled that during this time, “the dumbest, most moribund, out-of-date, and shopworn of possible things you could do was to make a portrait.” And yet, with startling freshness and a touch of defiance, a group of young artists demonstrated the value of exploring the face and figure.

With more than 50 paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from approximately 1945 to 1975, “Face Value” highlights the innovations of American portraiture hiding behind the vogue for abstraction. Artists such as Alice Neel, Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Beauford Delaney, Alex Katz, Romare Bearden, Fairfield Porter, Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol, along with lesser-known artists, pushed the boundaries of portrait traditions. Inspired by the theories and ambitions of the Abstract Expressionists and keenly attuned to the themes of their own turbulent times, they reinterpreted human portrayal, reinventing portraiture for the next generation. The curators for this exhibition are senior curator of prints and drawings Wendy Wick Reaves, chief curator Brandon Fortune and senior historian David C. Ward.

Today's News

April 20, 2014

Retrospective is the first to encompass Sigmar Polke's works across all mediums

"Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction" opens at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

Dusty home town remembers writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez with plenty of rum

The Broad announces Contemporary art acquisitions; 89 works added in the past two years

Exhibition at Whatcom Museum includes famed artists Warhol, Lichtenstein, Haring and more

Exhibition of drawings and works on paper by Manfred Müller opens at ROSEGALLERY

Exhibition at Raven Row brings together significant works from the sixties to the present

Invaluable and China's EpaiLive bring together art & auction markets of the East and the West

Exhibition of new works by Sherrie Levine opens at the Paula Cooper Gallery

Exhibition brings renowned quilts and exploration of color theory to Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Boston-based artist Taylor Davis opens exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

The Riverboat Collection of territorial gold offered by Heritage Auctions at CSNS

DLI Museum and Durham Art Gallery open exhibitions of works by Theodore Major

David Kordansky Gallery's first exhibition of work by Mary Weatherford opens in Los Angeles

Artworks by Chabas, Neale will be part of Ahlers & Ogletree's June 7-8 Auction

Sarah O Donnell's first museum exhibition opens at BYU's Museum of Art

The golden light: Fred Torres Gallery presents the work of Olivia Boudet

Great war commemorative sculptures at St. Paul's Cathedral by Gerry Judah

British filmmaker opens Moscow show under Ukraine shadow

Warning shots: A royal gun for sale at Bonhams

Anne Doran's first solo exhibition at Invisible-Exports opens in New York

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New light shines on Sandro Botticelli masterpieces at Florence's Uffizi Gallery

2.- Cincinnati Art Museum's Van Gogh exhibition brings guests Into the Undergrowth

3.- Degas retrospective debuts in the U.S. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

4.- Special exhibition features large-scale photography by Richard Mosse & Edward Burtynsky

5.- Nobel panel gives up knockin' on Dylan's door

6.- An unprecedented, international-loan exhibition of works by Claude Monet is at the Kimbell Art Museum this fall

7.- Exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek explores Rousseau's landscapes

8.- Yoko Ono unveils her first permanent US art installation

9.- ArtReview's annual Power 100 names Hans Ulrich Obrist as the artworld's most powerful figure

10.- British artist David Hockney makes a splash at Frankfurt fair with 2,000-euro book

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful