Sunday, January 1, 2017

Modern Portraits

Jean-Baptiste Corot (France)
Portrait of Camille Valléda 
ca. 1868-70
oil on panel

"We will never realize quite clearly enough what a shameful thing death is. In the end, we never try to fight it head on; doctors and scientists merely establish a pact with it, they fight on points of detail, they slow it down by a few months, a few years, but it all amounts to nothing. What we need to do is attack the roots of the problem in a big collective effort in which each of us will work towards his own survival and everyone else's.

That's why  because one of us has to give an example  I decided to harness myself to the project that's been close to my heart for a long time: preserving oneself whole, keeping a trace of all the moments of our lives, all the objects that have surrounded us, everything we've said and what's been said around us, that's my goal. The task is vast, and my means are frail. Why didn't I start before? Almost everything dealing with the period that I first set about saving (6 September 1944 to 24 July 1950) has been lost, thrown away, through culpable negligence. It was only with infinite difficulty that I was able to find the few elements that I am presenting here. To prove their authenticity, to situate them precisely, all this has been possible only as the result of ceaseless questioning and minutely detailed research.

But the effort still to be made is great. So many years will be spent searching, studying, classifying, before my life is secured, carefully arranged and labelled in a safe place  secure against theft, fire and nuclear war  from whence it will be possible to take it out and assemble it at any point. Then, being thus assured of never dying, I may finally rest."

 from Research and Presentation of All that Remains of my Childhood by Christian Boltanski, originally published in French in 1969, translated by Shaun Whiteside and republished in Christian Boltanski (Phaidon, 1997)

Anonymous painter (England)
Portrait of Harriet Taylor Mill, Mrs John Stuart Mill
ca. 1834
oil on canvas
National Portrait Gallery, London

Andrea Appiani (Milan)
Portrait of General Desaix
oil on canvas
Musée national du Château de Versailles

John Everett Millais (England)
Portrait of Kate Dolan as Portia
oil on canvas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Thomas Sully (USA)
oil on canvas
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
Emile Jean Horace Vernet (France)
Portrait of a Lady
oil on canvas
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Anne-Louis Girodet (France)
Portrait of Jacques-Joseph de Cathelineau
ca. 1822
oil on canvas
private collection

Robert Lefèvre (France)
Portrait of a woman holding a pencil and drawing book
ca. 1808
oil on canvas
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Tommaso Minardi (Rome)
oil on canvas
Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Florence

Ary Scheffer (Netherlands / France)
Death of Géricault
oil on canvas

James Tissot (France)
Study for a portrait of the family of the Marquis de Miramon
oil on paper
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (Denmark)
Seated model
oil on canvas

Michael Rothenstein (England)
Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden
National Portrait Gallery, London

Lucian Freud (England)
Portrait of Baron H.H. Thyssen-Bornemisza
oil on canvas
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid