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

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

Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, 1952, Gelatin Silver Print, 14.3 x 8.3 cm, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

While studying at Black Mountain College in North Carolina between 1948 and 1952, Robert Rauschenberg focused his attention on mid-century experimental and abstract photography. His exploration of this medium was influenced by the works of photographer Aaron Siskind, whose detailed images created an innovation in abstract photography; Harry Callahan, a prolific photographer who rigorously curated his work; and educator and photographer Hazel Larson Archer, whose work captured life at Black Mountain.

Rauschenberg used a bold mixture of abstraction, double exposures, experiments with light and shadow, and used blueprint paper to produce photographs with a camera. Many of his earliest photographic experiments were portraits of close companions and people he met in conversations; these include artists such as choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham and painter Cy Twombly.

A recurring subject of his experimental work was the self portrait, of which the double-exposure image above, “Self Portrait, Black Mountain (1)”, is an example. Shot in 1952, it features Rauschenberg seated on a wooden chair with his hands folded. Ghostly images of weeds and chairs are superimposed over his body.This photograph is a singular work in a portfolio edition of seven related photographs taken during the summer of 1952 at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina.

Grant Wood

Grant Wood, “Spring in Town”, 1941, Oil on Wood Panel, 66 x 60.9 cm, Swope Art Museum, Terra Haute, Indiana

Born in February of 1891 near Anamosa, Iowa, painter Grant Wood was one of the major exponents of Midwestern Regionalism, an art movement that flourished during the 1930s. His adolescent years on the family farm remained an inspiration to him throughout his artistic career. In his early years, Wood studied under tile-craftsman Ernest A. Batchelder and took drawing classes under painter Charles Cumming at the University of Iowa. In 1913, he moved to Chicago to study at the Art Institute until the death of his father in 1916; at which time, Wood returned home to Cedar Rapids to support his mother and sister.

Wood traveled to France in 1923, where he studied for two years at the Académie Julian in Paris. He then continued his European travels, staying in Italy for a period to paint. During this period, Wood painted in an Impressionist-inspired style, focusing on landscapes. Though his style changed significantly over time, the decorative patterns of foliage and light seen in his early work remained a feature of his mature style. Encouraged in 1925 by his friend David Turner, Wood gave up teaching to focus full-time on his art, setting up a studio space, furnished by Turner, in Cedar Rapids.

It was in this developmental time, through the support of the Cedar Rapids community and his exposure to its culture, that he became committed to Regionalism, drawing the subjects of his work from the local population and landscapes of the region. Wood’s distinctive style was finalized after a trip to Munich in 1928, where he oversaw the fabrication of his stained glass window design for the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. By 1929, after having  viewed painter Hans Memling’s canvases and painter-printmaker Albrecht Dürer’s work in Munich’s museums, Wood came to believe the crisp edges and meticulous details of their execution could be used to convey a distinctly American quality.

In Iowa City in the spring of 1941, with war overseas and anxiety growing at home, Grant Wood began his sketch work for “Spring in Town”, which he finished that summer along with its companion piece “Spring in the Country”. He painted the scene with crisp, clear lines and gave the scene a  perspective from slightly above: this enabled the viewer to see the whole panorama of small-town life and labor as well as its minute details. Wood drew from his own memories of farm life as a young boy but combined these with aspects of his present life, the houses he noticed, the people he knew, and his feelings about family and friends.

“Spring in Town” was one of Grant Wood’s last midwestern rural scenes before his death in February of 1942. After the United States entered World War II, the Saturday Evening Post magazine printed “Spring in Town” as patriotic propaganda, presenting the idyllic scene as the exemplar of American life. The painting, however, although manifestly tranquil, represented a traumatic personal memory- the death of Wood’s father and, as a result, the loss of the family’s Anamosa farm. Wood’s first conception of the “Spring in Town” image coincided with the fortieth anniversary of his father’s death on March 17, 1901.

Image Inserts: Grant Wood’s 1937 “Saturday Night Bath” is a charcoal drawing on wove paper which is in the collection of Houston’s Museum of Fine Art. In 1939, the image, reproduced as a lithograph, was considered by the U. S. Post Office to be pornographic due to the depictions of the two naked men. 

Grant Wood’s “Self Portrait” was reworked several times by the artist, beginning in 1932, but was never finalized. This last version of the enigmatic artist was uncompleted at his death. It is in the Davenport Collection of the Figge Art Museum located in Davenport, Iowa.

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

Note: A collection of one hundred-fifty works by Hans Thoma can be found at the ArtRenewal site located at: :

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:

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. 

Top Insert Image: Dick Ket, “Self Portrait”, 1935, Conté Crayon and White Crayon on Paper, 113 x 75 cm, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Bottom Insert Image: Dick Ket, “Self Portrait”, Date Unknown, Conté Crayon on Paper

Edward Francis Burney

Edward Francis Burney, “Seated Nude”, 1790-1800, Watercolor, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven,, Conneticutt

Edward Francis Burney, “Self Portrait”, 1785-1800, Watercolor, 18 x 14 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London

Born on September 7th of 1760 in Worcester, England, Edward Francis Burney became a student at the Royal Academy School of Art in 1776, at the age of sixteen. During this time, he made two fine drawings of the Antique School, which are now in the Royal Collection in London. Receiving encouragement from portrait painter Joshua Reynolds, then the president of the school, Burney exhibited several works at the Royal Academy of Art between the years 1780 to 1803. 

Though he was a capable portraitist, painting family and friends, and also historical scenes, Burney worked mainly as an illustrator, devoting a greater part of his career to book illustrations. In 1780, he exhibited three illustrations for his cousin, author Fanny Burney’s 1778 coming-of age novel “Evelina”. One of these illustrations was later engraved and used in the 1791 edition of the novel. Burney created a set of thirteen illustrations for a 1799 edition of Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, now in the collection of the Huntington Library in California.

Influenced by the satirical style of painter and social critic William Hogarth, Edward Burney produced a rococo-styled set of four large watercolors, satirizing the contemporary musical and social life. Considered his most important work, these pieces from the 1820s are: “The Waltz”, “The Triumph of Music”, “Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music” and “The Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies”. Burney may have intended to publish prints of the paintings and to sell both originals and prints. There was a substantial market for satirical prints during this period. The four pictures were, however, never published.

Edward Francis Burney died, unmarried, in London on December 16th of 1848, at the age of eighty-eight. He was buried in Marylebone, England.

Luke Austin

Luke Austin, “Self-Portrait”, 2018

Australian-born and now living in Los Angeles, Luke Austin started out as a photographer doing photo shoots of bands and musicians, later moving to portraits representing his own gay community. Working with his Instagram app, he has traveled the world and shot many photo shoots of over a hundred men in different cities. Austin has gone from a large Instagram following to becoming a published photographer with his series of “Mini Beau Books” and his latest book “LEWA”, a photographic study of race, masculinity, and sexuality.

Austin has recently shown at a solo 2018 exhibit “LEWA” at PT Gallery in Berlin, the 2018 “Queer Biennial” group show at Navel in Los Angeles, and the 2017 “Home” group show at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives, in Florida.

His work can be seen at his gallery in Los Angeles and at his site:,

Image reblogged with many thanks to



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

Toshiyuki Enoki

Toshiyuki Enoki, “The Wings of Sleep”, 2012, Self-Portrait

Toshiyuki Enoki, born in Japan in 1961, is a contemporary artist who works in lacquer, oil and acrylic paints, and watercolor. He has participated in the 2014 Kan-Hikari Expo in Kyoto and has installed his works at international heritage sites such as the Jochi Temple, the Nijo Castle, and the Senyu Temple. Toshiyuki Enoki participated from 2010 to 2012 in the 21st Century Exhibition of Japanese Art which covers the contemporary Japanese art scene from 1980 to the present.

Enoki’s works are a combination of reality, myths, and fantasy with an emphasis on the human consciousness. Using particularly worn brushes, Enoki cyclically paints, erases and transfers images for his works to create a unique atmosphere. The detailed brush-strokes and overall reflective surface is reminiscent of lacquer works which served as an inspiration for the artist. Enoki uses a selected warm colour palette and uses scattered gold leaf across his canvas to create an overall magical and tranquil depiction.


Rudolf Tewes

Rudolf Tewes, “Self-Portrait”, 1906, Oil on Canvas

Rudolf Tewes, born on September 3 of 1879, was the son of a respected merchant and consul. He studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, one of the oldest and most prestigious academies in Munich..After 1904, Tewes toured extensively in Italy, Spain, France and South America. He resided in Paris from 1919 to 1927, moving once again to become a resident of Berlin and a member of the Berlin Secession, a part of German Modernism and an alternative to the existing art conventions.

Tewew intensely studied the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. His self-portrait, seen above, was exhibited for the first time under an exhibition held by the Berlin Secession and clearly showed Van Gogh’s influence upon Rudolf Tewes. The parallels in the brushwork, choice of color and picture object led to a joint presentation of twenty Tewes paintings with seven paintings by Van Gogh in 1910 in the Kunsthalle Bremen, an atrt museum exhibiting French and German art from the 1800s to the 1950s.

In 1913 the Kunsthalle Bremen acquired Tewes’s “Self-Portrait” as a gift from the gallery association. Tewes moved to Bremen in 1939, living there until his death in 1965. The Bremen Kunsthalle dedicated a special exhibition to Rudolf Tewes in 2000 entitled. Rudolf Tewes- A Painter under the Late Impresssionism”.

José Villegas Cordero

José Villegas Cordero, “Self-Portrait”, 1898, Oil on Canvas, Museo National del Prado

José Villegas Cordero was a Spainish painter of historical, genre, and costumbrista scenes. Costumbrism is the pictorial interpretation of everyday life with its customs and mannerisms. It is related both to thhe movements of Realism with its focus on precise representation and Romanticism with its interest on expression and romantic styling.

José Cordero studied at the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Seville. In 1867 he traveled to Madrid and worked in the studios of Federico de Madrazo. copying the works of Valazquez to perfect his technique. Codero visited Rome in 1868 where he first created his costumbrista works.

Claude Buck


Claude Buck, “Self Portrait”, 1917, Charcoal and Crayon on Paper Mounted on Paper-Board Sheet, 20 x 12.7 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

Claude Buck started to paint when he was very young; at the age of eight he applied to be a copyist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum rejected him because of his age, but Buck kept asking and three years later was finally granted permission to copy the old master paintings. Buck was the youngest artist ever to study at the National Academy of Design, where he spent eight years creating works inspired by romantic literature.

In 1917, Claude Buck founded the ‘Introspectives’, a group of four painters who created surreal images and believed that the ‘poetry’ of a picture meant more than the imitation or even the representation of nature. Later in his career, however, Buck completely rejected these strange, dreamlike themes and joined the Society for Sanity in Art, which celebrated straightforward, representational painting. He was also a leading member of the avant-garde Symbolism artist movement in Chicago.

Claude Buck was known for his fantastic, sometimes disturbing images with allegorical and literary themes drawn from writings of Edgar Allen Poe, operas by Richard Wagner, classical mythology and New Testament writings from the Bible. Some of his early paintings had Luminist movement elements achieved with light-toned paints worked with transparent glazes.

Richard Gerstl

Richard Gerstl, “Semi-Nude Self-Portrait”, 1902-1904, Oil on Canvas, 43 x 63 Inches Leopald Museum, Vienna

Early in his life, Gerstl decided to become an artist, much to the dismay of his father. After performing poorly in school and being forced to leave the famed Piaristengymnasium in Vienna as a result of disciplinary difficulties, his financially stable parents provided him with private tutors. In 1898, at the age of fifteen, Gerstl was accepted into the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where he studied under the notoriously opinionated and difficult Christian Griepenkert. Gerstl began to reject the style of the Vienna Succession movement and what he felt was pretentious art.

Gerstl was known for his expressive psychologically insightful portraits, and his lack of critical acclaim during his lifetime. His highly stylized heads anticipated German Expressionism and his use of pastels  emulated the works by Oskar Kokoschka, another Expressionist painter.

Gerstl, distraught over the ending of an affair with Mathilde Schoenberg, entered his studio during the night of November 4, 1908, burned every letter and piece of paper he could find. It is believed that a great deal of his artwork and personal papers were destroyed. After burning his papers, Geerstl hanged himself in front of the studio mirror and somehow managed to stab himself as well.

After his suicide at the age of twenty-five, his family took the surviving paintings to art dealer Otto Kallir, who organized a posthumous show of Gerstl’s work at Neue Galerie. The Nazi prescence in Austria hindered further acclaim of Gerstl; it was only after the wr that Gerstl became known in the United States. Only sixty-six paintings and eight drawings attributed to Gerstl are known.

Giorgio de Chirico

Giorgio de Chirico, “Self-Portrait”, 1911, Oil on Canvas, 75 x58 cm

Giorgio di Chirico was one of the most innovative and controversial artists of the twentieth century. His enigmatic paintings, with their dream-like imagery of deserted city squares filled with mysterious shadows, stopped clocks and sleeping statues, had a profound influence on modern art.