Anselm Feuerbach

The Paintings of Anselm Feuerbach

Born in September of 1829 in Speyer, one of Germany’s oldest cities, Anselm Feuerbach was a painter and a leading member of the nineteenth-century German classical school. He was the son of archaeologist Joseph Anselm Feuerbach and the grandson of legal scholar Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach, whose reformation of the Bavarian penal code led to the abolition of torture. 

Anselm Feuerbach studied between 1845 and 1848 at the Düsseldorf Academy under the tutelage of romantic painter Wilhelm von Schadow, landscape painter Johann Wilhelm Schirmer, and Carl Sohn, whose poetic and mythical subjects were executed in the idealistic manner of the Düsseldorf school of painting. Feuerbach studied for a year at the Munich Academy of Art; he however left Munich in 1850 to attend the Academy at Antwerp. There he studied under Belgian painter Gustaaf Wappers, an early exponent of the Romanic movement in Belgium.

Anselm Feuerbach relocated to Paris in 1851 and became a student at the atelier of history and genre painter Thomas Couture. Conture is best known for his 1847 masterpiece “Romans During the Decadence” which was  exhibited at Paris’s Salon a year before the revolution toppled the monarchy. In 1854, Feuerbach received funding from Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden which enabled him to visit Venice, accompanied by his friend, the writer Victor Scheffel. There he was influenced by the technique of layering and blending colors to achieve a glowing richness, a method deemed fundamental to the Venetian Colorist school.

 Feuerbach traveled to Florence and then onto Rome where he would remain until 1873, with only brief trips back to Germany. In 1861, he met Anna Risi who became his mistress and sat as his model for four years, a period during which he painted twenty portraits of her. She was succeeded as a model in 1866 by Lucia Brunacci, an innkeeper’s wife who posed for Feuerbach’s depictions of the Greek sorceress Medea. In 1862, literary and art historian Count Adolf Freidrich von Schack commissioned Feuerbach for several copies of Old Master paintings and introduced him to artists Hans von Marées and Arnold Böcklin. 

Interested in the Persian poet Hafia since his youth, Anselm Feuervach in 1866 painted his “Hafia at the Fountain” which was acquired two years later by art collector Joseph Benzino, Upon Benzino’s death, the painting was bequeathed to  the Kaiserslautern Art Museum. In 1873,  Feuerbach relocated to Vienna and took the position of professor of history painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.  Four years later, he resigned his post and moved back to Venice. where he passed away, at the age of fifty, in January of 1880. 

In remembrance of Feuerbach, his friend Johannes Brahms composed “Nänie (A Funeral Song)”,  a composition for full chorus and orchestra, of which the first sentence states “Even the beautiful must die”. Feuerbach was close to his step-mother Henriette Feuerbach. Throughout his lifetime of travels, he wrote roughly six-hundred letters to his step-mother describing his everyday life and problems, as well as his thoughts on art and his methods of painting. Following Feuerbach’s  death, his step-mother wrote a book entitled “Ein Vermächtnis (A Testament)” which included his autobiographical notes and many of his personal letters. Anselm Feuerbach’s works are housed in collections of the leading public German galleries.

Note: An article written by Candida Syndikus entitled “Far from the Modern World: Anselm Feuerbach’s Idea of Modernity” can be found at:

Top Insert Image: Anselm Feuerbach, Selbetbildnis als Knabe (Self Portrait as a Boy)”, 1845-1846, Oil on Canvas, 15.5 x 12.5 cm, Alte Nationalgalerie

Middle Insert Image: Anselm Feuerbach, “Seated Male Nude”, 1860-1869, Black and white Chalk on Brown Paper, 60.4 x 40 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Bottom Insert Image: Anselm Feuerbach, “Self Portrait”, 1852-1853, Oil on Canvas, 42 x 33 cm, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe, Germany

Ottilie Roederstein

The Paintings of Ottilie Roederstein

Born in 1859 to German parents in Zurich, Ottilie Wilhelmine  Roederstein was a painter who gained attention mostly in her homeland of Switzerland, but also in France and Germany. Her interest in painting began with the visit to her family home by Swiss painter Eduard Pfyffer who had been commissioned to do the family’s portraits. Beginning in 1876, Roederstein was allowed by her father, against her mother’s wishes and the prevailing social customs, to study painting under the tutelage of Eduard Pfyffer, so she would remain close to home

Three years later, Roederstein moved to the Berlin residence of her married sister Johanna and found a position in a special women’s class at the Grand-Ducal Saxon Art School under the tutelage of portrait painter Carl Gussow. Her first exhibition of paintings at a Zurich gallery in 1882 was well received. That same year, Roederstein followed her colleagues to Paris where she joined the women’s studio of portrait painters Charles Auguste Émile Durand and Jean-Jacques Henner. In addition to these classes, Roederstein also worked with academic painter Luc-Olivier Merson and painted nudes in special private evening classes.

In order to sustain herself as an artist, Ottilie Roederstein had chosen the genres of portraiture and still life, for which she used a dark-toned color palette. She soon departed from that traditional canon and began to paint religious imagery and nudes. By the very end of the 1890s, Roederstein had embraced the tempera medium which was in vogue among both traditional and avant-garde artists. She experimented with Symbolism and Impressionism in the latter part of her career before returning to her signature style in the 1920s.

Initially dependent on financial support from her family, Roederstein was able by 1887 to support herself with sales and commissions for her work. She returned to Zurich but continued to maintain her Paris studio on the Seine where she would work and exhibit several months of the year. Roederstein moved to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1891 to be with her partner, Elizabeth Winterhalter, a physician and one of the first female surgeons in Germany.

In 1891, Elisabeth Winterhalter had just  taken over a practice in Frankfurt am Main’s newly founded hospital, the Vaterländischer Frauenverein. She also set up the first gynecological polyclinic through a branch of the Red Cross organization. Although unable to obtain a German medical license despite her internships and Doctorate, she established a reputation as an obstetrician and gynecologist. In 1895, Winterhalter became the first female surgeon in Germany to perform a surgical procedure involving an incision through the abdominal wall. She also conducted research that led to the discovery of the ganglion cell of the ovary and published a major paper on the subject in 1896. 

Soon after her 1891 move to Berlin, Ottilie Roederstein quickly gained a wide circle of clients and, in 1892, began giving  women artists painting lessons at her  studio in the Städel Art School. She exhibited her paintings in Paris’s Salon and won a Silver Medal at the city’s 1889 Exposition Universelle. Her work was also shown at the Woman’s Building of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois. In 1902, Ottilie Roederstein’s application for Swiss citizenship was granted; however, Frankfurt remained at the center of her life. Five years later, she and Elisabeth settled in Hofheim am Taurus, a western Frankfurt suburb surrounded by forest. 

Roederstein was a member of the Frankfurt-Cronberg Artists’ Association, a group which was attempting to establish the Impressionist technique of open air painting in Germany. She was also the only female artist to exhibit at Cologne’s 1912 International Art Exhibition. In 1913, Roederstein became a member of Frankfurt’s Women’s Art Association which campaigned for women artists’ rights to equal training and admission to art academies. During the first World War as exhibition opportunities shrank, she gave up her Paris studio and withdrew into the privacy of her Hofheim estate. Beginning in 1920, Roederstein bequeathed her own collection of important French and Swiss paintings to Kunsthaus Zürich, one of the most important art collections in Switzerland. 

In 1929 on the occasion of Ottilie Roederstein’s seventieth birthday, a large anniversary exhibition of her work was held at Frankfurt’s Art Museum and the city declared both Roederstein and Winte halter as honorary citizens. The rise of the National Socialist Party to power in Germany and the persecution of her Jewish friends and colleagues deeply affected Roederstein. She herself, as an artist, became subject to the state and had to contend with the government’s increasing control over the arts. After the war, Roederstein continued her painting and did  a number of portraits of women widowed by the war. 

Ottilie Roederstein continued to exhibit regularly until 1931. She produced a large body of work, of which more than eighty were self-portraits. She usually staged herself in a self-confident pose with a stern gaze, a posture that signified her emancipation. On the 26th of November in 1937, Ottilie W. Roederstein died of a heart condition in Hofheim am Taunus. The first posthumous exhibitions of Roederstein’s work were presented in 1938 in Frankfurt, Zurich and Bern in recognition of her artistic legacy and tireless work as a mediator between Switzerland and Germany. After a long period of obscurity, a retrospective of seventy works by Roederstein was held at Kunsthaus Zürich in December of 2020.

After her partner’s  death, Elisabeth Winterhalter created a joint legacy, the Roederstein-Winterhalter-Stiftung. She died in February of 1952 in Hofheim am Taunus. Winterhalter was buried alongside Roederstein in an honorary grave cared for by the community. For her efforts in opening the medical profession to women, a street in the Niederursel district of Frankfurt is named after her. 

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, Ottilie Roederstein in Her Atelier, Date Unknown

Second Insert Image: Ottilie Foederstein, “Self Portrait with Keys”, 1936, 105.3 x 74.6 cm, Städel Museum

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, ” Ottilie roederstein and Elisabeth Winterhalter, Date Unknown

Fourth Insert Image: Ottilie W. Roederstein, “Self Portrait with Hat”, 1904, Oil on Canvas, 55.3 x 46.1 cm, Stäadel Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Photogapher Unknown, Ottilie Roederstein and Elisabeth Winterhalter, Date Unknown, Studio Portrait Print

Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol

Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujal, “Ixion Chained in Tartarus”, 1824, Oil on Canvas, 127 x 157 cm, Louvre Museum, Paris

Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol, “Sisyphus Eternally Rolling the Rock”, 1819, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 212 cm, Musée Henri Martin, Cahors, France

Born in January of 1785 in Valenciennes, a northern French city bordering Belgium, Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol was a French painter. He was the illegitimate son and only child of nobleman Alexander-Denis-Joseph Mortry de Pujol, Baron de la Grave, who served as advisor to King Louis XVI Auguste and was the founder of the Académie de Peinture et Sculpture in Valenciennes. From the age of twelve, Abel de Pujol studied at the Academy and completed his training as a student of Neoclassical artist Jacques-Louis David, regarded in his time as the preeminent painter in France. 

Receiving little support from his father for his studies, Abel de Pujol earned a pension from the city of Valenciennes which allowed him to continue his studies at David’s studio. He also took classes in perspective, anatomy, and architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1806 at  the age of twenty-one, de Pujol won a first-class medal at the Académie and a second-class medal at the Salon of 1810 for his painting “Jacob Blessing the Children of Joseph”; this painting placed second at the Prix de Rome competition in 1810. 

In 1811, Abel du Pujol won the Prix de Rome with his painting “Lycurgus Presenting the Heir to the Throne to the Lacedaemonians”. Having achieved this award, he was formally recognized by his father and was able to add the name Pujol to his own. Abel de Pujol suffered a period of poor health and depression during his stay in Italy, which allowed him only eight months of study in 1812. Restored to health, he returned to his career in Paris and successfully exhibited mainly history paintings at the Salons.

In 1814, Abel de Pujol won gold medals from both Louis XVIII and Napoleon Bonaparte for his monumental painting “The Death of Britannicus”. A compositional study for the 3.54 x 5.50 meters painting is currently housed in the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. His grisaille (gray-monochrome) painting “The Preaching and Martyrdom of Saint Stephen”, intended for the church of Saint Etienne du Mont, was entered at the 1817 Paris Salon where it won the prize for history painting. These awards established his reputation as a history painter and muralist.

Abel de Pujol received several important official commissions, He executed three paintings and a ceiling mural for the royal palace at Versailles, as well as a large, allegorical ceiling mural, entitled “The Renaissance of the Arts”, for the Louvre’s grand staircase, later destroyed in 1855 during the joining of the Palais du Louvre to the Palais des Tuileries. Abel de Pujol also painted many mural decorations for public buildings, such as the Galerie de Diane at Fontainbeau and the Palais de Luxembourg. For the ceiling of the Bourse, Paris’s stock exchange, he executed a series of large-scale grisaille tromp-l’oeil decorations of architectural features and draped nudes.

Throughout his career, de Pujol produced altar pieces and designs for stained-glass windows for Parisian churches such as Saint-Roch, Saint Sulpice and Saint Thomas d’Acquin and the Madeleine. He also did work for the cathedral at Arras and the church of Saint-Pierre in Douai. Included among Abel de Pojul’s last major works are the 1846 “Valenciennes Encouraging the Arts”, a monumental canvas for the town hall of Valenciennes, and an 1852 mural for the ceiling of the staircase of the School of Mining at the Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris.

A successful teacher and draftsman, Abel de Pujol was a member of the Institut de France, a learned society composed of all the sciences and fine arts, and an Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor. Among his students were sculptor Alphonse Lami, painter Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps, and Julien Hudson, an American painter and free man of color, thought to be the first African American by whom a self portrait is known. Abel de Pujol died in Paris, at the age of seventy-six, in September of 1861. 

Top Insert Image: Alexandre-Denis Abel de Pujol, “Self Portrait”, 1806, Oil on Canvas, 71 x 55 cm, Musée de Beaux-Arts, Paris

Middle Insert Image: Abel de Pujol, “La Colère d’Achille (The Fury of Achilles)”, 1810, Oil on Canvas, 112 x 146 cm, Snite Museum of Art, Campus of Notre Dame, Indiana

Bottom Insert Image: Alexandre_Abel_de_Pujol, “Self Portrait”, 1812, Oil on Canvas, 56.2 x 46 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts

František Kupka

František Kupka, “The Yellow Scale”, 1907, Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

František Kupka was born in September of 1871 in Opočno, a small town in Bohemia, now a part of the Czech Republic. From 1889 to 1892, he trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague where he painted historical and patriotic themes. Kupka later attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he concentrated on allegorical and symbolic subjects, influenced by the works of Symbolist painter Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach. In 1904, Kupka exhibited his work at Vienna’s art association, the Kunstverein. 

Kupka settled in Paris by the spring of 1894 and studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under figurative and portrait painter Jean-Pierre Laurens. Inspired by the Neo-Impressionist and Fauvist paintings he saw in Paris exhibitions, Kupka began experimenting with different styles, all while supporting himself as an illustrator of books and posters. In 1906 he exhibited for the first time at the Salon d’Automne, Paris’s annual art exhibition on the Champs-Élysées.

František Kupka’s 1909 painting “Piano Keyboard/Lake” marked a break in his representational style. His work became increasingly abstract beginning in 1910-11, reflecting his theories of color, motion and the link between music and painting. In 1931, he was a founding member of Abstraction-Création, a group formed to counteract the influence of Andre Breton’s surrealist group. 

Kupka had work shown in 1936 at the “Cubism and Abstract Art” exhibition at MOMA in New York City and, in the same year, at the Jeu de Paume in Paris. He regularly exhibited in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris, until his death. Having gained general recognition, he had several solo shows in New York and a 1946 retrospective of his work at the Galerie Mánes in Prague. František Kupka died in June of 1957 in Puteaux, France.

František Kupka was drawn to theosophy and Eastern philosophy. He saw deep links between music and visual art and believed fervently in the power of color. To that end, Kupka strove to dissociate color from its usual descriptive role, wanting to let it be expressive in itself, not just on the subject. In his first attempt at this theory,  he painted his 1907 “The Yellow Scale”, and produced a very personal painting in a single scale of yellow colors. Although a self-portrait, the subject of the painting was actually the color yellow, contrasted with just a few strokes of green.

Hans Thoma

Hans Thoma, “Self Portrait in Front of a Birch Forest”, 1899, Oil on canvas, 94 x 75.5 cm, Städelscher Museums-Verein. Frankfurt  

Hans Thoma, “Apollo und Marsyas”, 1886, Oil on Panel, 45 x 55 cm, Kunkel Fine Art, Munich

Born on October 2, 1839 at Bernau in the Black Forest of Germany, Hans Thoma, in his youth, spent his summers drawing and painting landscapes and portraits of family members. Between 1859 and 1866, he studied at the Karlsruhe Academy under landscape painter Johann Wilhelm Schirmer and history and portrait painter Ludwig des Coudres, who made a significant influence upon his career. 

Hans Thoma entered the prestigious Düsseldorf Akademie in 1866, where he was introduced to modern French art. Two years later, he travelled to Paris, where he met painter Gustave Courbet, a leading painter in the Realism movement of France. Moving to Munich in 1870, Thoma shared a studio with realist painter Wilhelm Trübner and gradually changed his style, influenced by the German symbolist painters Hans von Marées and Arnold Böcklin. 

From 1876 to 1899 Hans Thoma lived in Frankfurt am Main, where he made contact with avant-garde artistic circles, and gradually achieved artistic success. He returned to the city of Karlsruhe in 1899 as director of the Kunsthalle, the city’s art museum. His reputation as a painter became firmly established with a 1900 exhibition of thirty paintings in Munich, after which he regularly exhibited in Germany. 

In 1909 a Hans Thoma Museum, showcasing his work, opened within the Karlsruhe Kunsthalle. Hans Thoma died in Karlsruhe in  November of 1924 at the age of eighty-five. His art was formed by his early impressions of the simple life of his native district and  his attraction to the works of the early German masters, such as Albrecht Altdorfer and Lucas Cranach the Elder.  In his love of the details of nature, in his precise drawing of outline, and in his predilection for local coloring, Hans Thoma has distinct affinities with the Pre-Raphaelite movement.

Insert Image: Hans Thoma, “Archers”, 1887, Oil on Board, 95 x 64 cm, Berlin State Museum

Hugh Ramsay

Hugh Ramsay, “A Student of the Latin Quarter”, 1901, Oil on Canvas on Board, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Insert: Hugh Ramsay, “Self-Portrait in White Jacket”, 1901-02, Oil on Canvas, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Hugh Ramsay was an accomplished Australian artist whose portrait paintings achieved success in Australia and in France before his untimely death at the age of twenty-eight. Born in Scotland in 1877, he relocated with his family to Melbourne, Australia, in 1878. Ramsay enrolled at the National Gallery of Victoria School in 1894 under the tutelage of impressionist Frederick McCubbin and artist Bernard Hall, who tutored him on the importance of tone through careful study of Spanish master-painter Diego Valázquez.

After unsuccessfully applying for the 1899 Traveling Art Scholarship, Ramsay was encouraged by portraitist John Longstaff to travel to Europe in September of 1900, which he financed by selling his paintings through the Art Union sales and with support from his older brother. Ramsay arrived in Paris in January of 1901, where he enrolled at the Académie Colarossi and was exposed to the Louvre collections and exhibitions of the work of his American and French contemporaries.

Hugh Ramsay’s 1901 “Portrait of James S Macdonald” was accepted by the conservative Paris Salon and, in 1902, three portraits and a still life were accepted by the progressive Société Nationale des Beaux Arts and displayed favorably. With his reputation increasing, Ramsay’s art connections permitted him access to the important social circles in London, particularly that of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, who gave him a commission for a portrait.

Unfortunately, due to long hours spent working in the impoverished conditions of his studio and living quarters, Ramsay contracted tuberculosis and was advised to return to the warmer climates of Australia. Forced to abandon his international career, he returned home to Melbourne in August of 1902. In December, Dame Melba, on tour in Australia, organized Ramsay’s first and only solo exhibition at Myoora house in the Melbourne suburb of Toorak.

Despite his worsening condition, Hugh Ramsay continued to paint and exhibit at the Victorian Artists Society. The last paintings he produced are considered among his greatest, including “The Sisters”, a portrait of his own two sisters, seated and dressed in white, and painted in 1904. Gradually becoming weaker, Hugh Ramsay died at his family’s estate, Clydebank, in Essendon, Victoria, on March 5th 1906, a few weeks before his twenty-ninth year. 

Ramsay’s realist portraits were characterized by Velazquez-inspired tonalism, prevalent in Melbourne during the 1890s. His quick and confident handling of oil lent his portraits a wonderful candidness which were indebted to the influence of American painter John Singer Sargent. Ramsay also worked within other genres,  including narrative and mythological subjects, still life, urban scenes and landscapes.

A memorial exhibition of Hugh Ramsay’s work was held at the Fine Arts Society in 1906 and a retrospective at the national Gallery of Victoria in 1943. Ramsay’s achievements overseas and impact locally are remarkable given his short period of activity and relative inexperience. The fact that he had not yet matured fully affirms his exceptional artistic talents.

More of Hugh Ramsay’s work can be found at the National Gallery of Australia site located at:

Frank Yamrus

Photography by Frank Yamrus

Born in 1958, Frank Yamrus attended Wilkes University, earning his BA in 1980, and Drexel University in Philadelphia, earning his MBA in 1986. A sensitive observer of his life and surroundings, he works in series to produce intimate, introspective photographs, creating suggestive visual narratives focused primarily on himself and his place in the world. 

In series form, Yamrus has addressed environmental issues in his carefully composed photographic still lifes of flowers, blocks of ice, and plastic water bottles. He frequently shoots self-portraits amid the natural landscapes that formed his experiences, allowing the insertion of himself into the scene to serve as proxies for his emotions. 

Frank Yamrus leaves his open-ended images largely unexplained, explaining that his photography has always been about process and not about resolution. Two of his previously shot series are the 1994 figurative-nature “Primitive Behavior” and the 2000  “Rapture Series” of facial- expressive portraits. In 2008, to mark the milestone of his fiftieth birthday, Yamrus shot ” I Feel Lucky”, a poetic series of self-portraits, at once overt and ambiguous, which conveyed the pivotal experiences that shaped his identity.

Dick Hendrik Ket

Paintings by Dick Hendrik Ket

Born in 1902 in the small port town of Den Helder, The Netherlands, Dick Ket was a magic realist painter. He was born with a serious heart defect, probably a symptom of Fallot, incurable at that time and causing insufficient nourishment of tissues and organs. 

In his childhood, Ket was encouraged by two teachers who appreciated his artistic talent. His drawing teacher, Johan C. Kerkemeijer directed him toward the techniques of oil painting. His science teacher Henri Adrien Naber, an author and theosophist, encouraged him to look into the relationship between geometry and mysticism. 

After studying art at the Kunstoefening Arnhem Academy from 1922 to 1925, Ket could no longer travel, becoming debilitated by chronic fatigue and growing phobias. He lived in seclusion with his parents in the small town of Bennekom, not venturing out of the house until after 1930. Ket’s exposure, through reproductions, to the art of painter Neue Sachlichkeit in 1929 led him to concentrate his work in the magic realist style.

Housebound by his illness, Dick Ket painted still lifes and self portraits. His meticulously composed still lifes are always centered on the same themes and are often composed of the same objects: empty bowls, eggs, bottles, newspapers and musical instruments. These objects are arranged in different angles to each other, painted as viewed from above, and seen casting strong shadows. 

During the period from 1930 to 1940, Dick Ket’s health progressively deteriorated, leading to his early death at age thirty-seven in September of 1940. Over the course of his career, Dick Ket produced approximately one hundred-forty paintings, a third of which were self portraits. Among the museums containing Ket’s work in their collections are the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Arnhem Museum, and the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. 

Michisei Kohno

Michisei Kohno, “Self Portrait”, 1917, Oil on Canvas, Arthur M Sackler Gallery

Born in 1905 in Isezaki in the Gunma Prefacture of Japan, Michisei Kohno was a Japanese painter, illustrator, and printmaker known for his association with the yōga movement of the early century. His artwork is representative of the Taishō period, from 1912 to 1925, in Japanese art when Emperor TaishOō reigned. This era is considered the time of the liberal ‘democracy’ movement.

In his early youth, Michisei fell under the influence of painter Kishida Ryūsei, known for his realistic yoga-position portraits, and joined his art circle Sõdosha in 1915.. Upon Kishida’s death in 1929, Michisei turned to illustration producing work for novels and a variety of newspapers. In 1931 he became a member of Nihon Hanga Kyokai, the Japanese Woodblock Print Society, and also returned to painting, although sporadically, between 1933 and 1937.

The greatest influence upon Michisei’s work was the prints of Albrecht Dürer, gained primarily form books and magazines. The works of Michelangelo, as well as the Christian faith, also provided inspiration. In his work, Michisei reularly touched upon Christian themes, blending them with unorthodox elements, such as Adam and Eve crossing a river in Japan. He also produced many self-portraits throughout his career.

Michisei Kohno died in 1950 in Koganei in the Tokyo Prefecture of Japan. His artwork was soon forgotten until a 2008 retrospective at the Hiratsuka Museum of Art in Tokyo. Two of his paintings, a portrait of his son Shuntatsu and the self-portrait shown above, are in the Sackler Gallery in Washington DC. His works can be seen in several museums in Japan, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Hiratsuka Museum, both in Tokyo.

Image reblogged with many thanks to ;

Peter Samuelson

Peter Samuelson, “Self Portrait in the Bird Room”, 1952, Oil on Board, 81.3 x 63.5 cm, Private Collection

British artist Peter Samuelson, born in Salisbury in 1912, studied at Eton College where his artistic aptitude was first noticed. He later studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts in Paris before moving to Holland to work as an illustrator. Following his service in the Second World War, Samuelson returned in 1947 to England again working as an illustrator and, later, as a set designer in the London theater. 

In the early 1950s, Peter Samuelson helped his mother run a boarding house in Torquay, Cornwall, on the English Channel. It was here that the majority of his work from the 1950s and 1960s was produced, consisting of brightly colored portraitures and life studies of the boardinghouse’s lodgers. A zen-like calm prevades  the romantically colored canvases and drawings, with a line quality that suggests the decorative sensitivity of Jean Cocteau and Christian Bérard.

Samuelson returned to London in 1952, where he opened his own boarding houses, and continued his practice of using lodgers and guests as subjects. The artist, though shy in nature, was able to capture life and movement fluidly in his work, distilling with great skill the essence of his subjects, often merely observed in the public spaces of the boarding houses.  Not a social person, Samuelson never actively sought representation or a gallery exhibition; but he did sell pieces to friends and gave some as gifts to friends and models.

Samuelson abandoned painting almost entirely in 1965, spending the latter years of his life in restoring Oriental rugs. In the 1980s, as his health began to decline, his friends placed work in galleries, including an exhibition at Leighton House Museum in London, resulting in some critical acclaim. A book of his work entitled “Post War Friends”, containing paintings and drawings, was published in 1987 by GMP Publishers, London. Peter Samuelson died in 1996. 

Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop, “A Moroccan Man (1913)”, 2014, Self-Portrait from the “Diaspora” Series

Senegalese self-taught photographer Omar Victor Diop’s portraits capture the diversity of modern African societies through the portraiture of its inhabitants by layering genres, color, and patterns to create stunningly vivid imagery. Grounding his practice in his childhood experiences in Dakar, Diop sites influences ranging from American popular culture to Arabic music.

Diop’s first conceptual project “Fashion 2112, The Future of Beauty”, featured at the Pan African Exhibition of the African Biennale of Photography of 2011 in Bamako, gained rapid recognition, which led him to committing to photography exclusively. In his series ” Studio of the Vanities”, he captures the young entrepreneurs of Africa’s urban culture, including fashion designers, visual artists, and models. Diop thoughtfully selects the backdrops, patterns, and apparel to emphasize his model’s personality and cultural attributions, while also collaborating with the subject on these decisions to portray an accurate portrait of their individuality.

Omar Victor Diop’s “Project Diaspora” is a series of elaborately stage portraits of himself in various historical guises. These are based on actual paintings form the 15th to the 19th centuries, but also refer to the contemporary world, even the world of football. The image above was based on an original 1913 painting by Catalan painter and watercolorist José Taprió y Baró, a close friend of painter Marià Fortuny with whom Baró shared an interest in Orientalism.

“It started with me wanting to look at these historical black figures who did not fulfil the usual expectations of the African diaspora insofar as they were educated, stylish and confident, even if some of them were owned by white people and treated as the exotic other. Individuals such as Albert Badin, a Swedish court servant in the 18th century or Juan de Pareja, who was a member of Velázquez’s household in the 17th century. I wanted to bring these rich historical characters into the current conversation about the African diaspora and contemporary issues around immigration, integration and acceptance.” -Omar Victor Diop, The Guardian, 2015

Kyle Thompson

Kyle Thompson, Untitled, (Flames in the Forest)

Kyle Thompson is a photographer currently based in Portland, Oregon. His original work can be found at his website. His new phonebook entitled “Sinking Ship” is now available. The images in the book were photographed in abandoned towns in the American grasslands. He would briefly visit these ghost towns, living thee alone briefly, wearing the clothes left in the closets, and taking self-portraits in sets built from items found at the scene. Thompson used himself as a vessel to portray the past residents through their belongings and their environment. Images from the book can be found at:

Image reblogged with thanks to the artist’s site: kylejthompson:

Amo Rafael Minkkinen

Photography;  Self Portraits in Nature by Amo Rafael Minkkinen

Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen has been capturing self-portraits of his nude body in natural surroundings for the better part of five decades. Minkkinen fully merges his limbs and torso like a chameleon, blurring the lines between where the world ends and his body begins.

The methods used to create these bold and uninhibited shots pre-date the use of Photoshop by decades, instead relying on a simple 9-second shutter release that allows Minkkinen to quickly pose for each shot. What may appear as a simply composed photo with fortuitous timing, is often the result of Minkkinen taking dangerous risks as he submerges himself in strong currents, buries himself in ice, or balances precariously on the edge of a cliff.

At the age of 70, Minkkinen was just awarded the 2015 Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and is currently finishing work on his 8th book. His first-ever solo show was in November of 2015 in Chicago at the Catherine Edelman Gallery and entitled “7 8 9 0 1″.

“Many of my photographs are difficult to make. Some can even be dangerous. I do not want to have someone else coming in harm’s way taking the risks I need to take: to lean out off a cliff or stay underwater for the sake of my picture. We control how much pain we can tolerate; such information is unknowable by anyone else. Some of my pictures might look simple, but in reality they can test the limits of what a human body is capable of or willing to risk.” -Amo Rafael Minkkinen

Jesse Garbe

Jesse Garbe, Self-Portraits

Jesse Garbe is an artist that is based in Vancouver in, British Columbia.  He is an 2004 alumni of Emily Carr University and a 2008 graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’s MFA Program in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Garbe received the Joseph Beuys Memorial Award in 2007..

Garbe’s paintings are vigorous psychological studies of his self and the individuals around him. He has a continued interest in studying his own relationships, as well as the relationship between painter and sitter. Garbe’s paintings depict the people he knows such as his family, friends and fellow artists.

Jesse Garbe’s style has been influenced by the painting techniques of Rembrandt, the prints of the German artist Käthe Kollwitz and the figurative drawings and paintings of the 20th century British artists Lucian Freud and Euan Uglow.

Gustave Courbet

Gustave Courbet, “The Desperate Man”, 1844-45, Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Gustave Courbet, a French Realist painter, strived to be independent from the public’s taste and constantly challenged convention by his emphatically realistic renderings of scenes from the daily life. Courbet was not depicting beauty using graceful poses and impressive colors;  he was depicting truth. This uncompromising artistic sincerity made him stand out from all other artists working at that time in Paris and often forced him to exhibit his work independently from the Salon.

“The Desperate Man” is among the earliest works by the artist that he completed in 1845. With his eyes wide-open, Courbet is staring straight at you and tearing his hair. Popular at the time, the Romantic approach to portraiture was concerned with expressing emotional and psychological states of the individual. However, Courbet is seldom recognized as being connected to the themes and ideologies of the Romantics, who enjoyed the apex of their success around the time of Courbet’s birth in 1819.

Courbet found his career in a transitional period that saw Romanticism coming to a close and subsequently, the birth of realism and modernism in European visual culture. “The Desperate Man’ was produced at the apex of the artist’s melancholy and Romantic disillusionment. It proved to be a key work in his life, and it remained in his studio until his death in 1877.


Egon Schiele

Works by Egon Schiele

Born on June 12 of 1890, Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter and a  protégé of Gustav Klimt. Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century, noted for the intensity and the raw sexuality of his work.He produced many self-portraits, of which many were naked self-portraits.  The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele’s paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism.