The Artist Revealed: Two Centuries of Portraits from Cezanne to Dylan includes more than 60 self-portraits and portraits, made by and depicting leading 19th, 20th and 21st century artists.
For nearly as long as humans have lived, we have drawn, painted and sculpted our own image and that of others. For most of history, portraiture served a very practical purpose: to document our own existence and to capture an accurate likeness for posterity. This began to change in the late 19th century, as cameras and film became readily available and affordable technologies for the general public. While artists continued to create portraits, they no longer served as the primary record of their subject. Instead, and in keeping with broader trends in modern art, many artists sought to express a feeling and capture the inner essence, rather than the outward appearance, of their subjects.
The Artist Revealed traces this history, beginning with the earliest work in the exhibition, a small wood engraving by American Winslow Homer, dating to 1857; continuing to Paul Cezanne, a French Post-Impressionist artist; and extending to contemporary images by artists as diverse as Norman Rockwell, Alex Katz, Dieter Roth, and Rose Frantzen.
Other highlights include Milton Glaser’s iconic portrait of American songwriter Bob Dylan, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., and Grant Wood’s only painted self-portrait, on loan from the Figge Art Museum in Davenport.
Not surprisingly, a majority of the images in the exhibition depict visual artists; however, leading figures in other creative fields, including music, literature, and film, are represented, too.
Complete list of lenders:
Public collections: Des Moines Art Center, the Figge Art Museum, Grinnell College Falconer Gallery, the National Portrait Galleries in Washington D.C., and Syracuse University Art Galleries.
Private Collections: Dan Weitz, Rose Frantzen, Diego Lasansky, Larry Gerber, and Jessica Rebik.