University of Richmond Museums Open “Castiglione to Warhol, The Art of Making Faces”

Castiglione to Warhol, The Art of Making Faces will be on view from January 15 to April 22, 2016, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums. Drawn from the University Museums’ collections of drawings, prints, photographs, and paintings, the more than fifty works in this exhibition explore how artists create faces to provide recognition of known subjects, to study the personality of the person being portrayed, and to convey the range of human emotions. From the seventeenth century to the present, the subjects range from unknown sitters, to portraits of celebrities, to imagined figures created by the artists. The exhibition begins with the complete 1645-1650 series of sixteen prints, “Studies of Small Heads in Oriental Headdress,” by Giovanni Castiglione (Italian, 1609-1664) and ends with a selection of screenprints and Polaroid prints from the 1970s and 1980s by Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987).

            Works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries include a drawing “Study of an Anguished Man,” by Jacob de Wit (Dutch, 1695-1754) from the 1740s; a crayon-manner engraving, “Head of an Old Woman,” 1767, by Gilles Demarteau (French, 1722-1776), after François Boucher (French, 1703-1770); an engraving transferred to lithographic stone, “Servatori Civium (Louis XVI),” 1818-1819, by Alois Senefelder (German, 1771-1834); and an etching, “Woman with Crossed Hands,” 1898, by Käthe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945). More recent works from the twentieth century include “Billie Holiday,” circa 1950, photograph, by Josef Breitenbach (American, born Germany, 1896-1984); and “Picasso in a Medallion,” circa 1930s, transfer monotype, by Sir Francis Rose (British, 1901-1979). Self-portraits in the exhibition include works by Pierre Daura (American, born Catalonia, Spain, 1896-1976), Philip Evergood (American, 1901-1973), Diego Lasansky (American, born 1994), Raphael Soyer (American, 1899-1987), and George Tooker (American, 1920-2011).

            We immediately respond to faces, whether interacting directly with people or looking at facial expressions in works of art. Faces and facial interpretation have interested artists since antiquity, and making faces continues to be a vital aspect of creativity for many artists today. Face recognition is an important area of investigation in the arts and sciences; it is of great interest to psychologists, neuroscientists, computer science researchers, and artists.

The curator of the exhibition, Richard Waller, Executive Director, University of Richmond Museums, states, “The representation of the human face is central to the images in this selection of works from the collection. Often, the visage depicted seems to return the gaze of the viewer and a visceral interaction occurs. The works present a range of  responses to the art of making faces, from intriguing and expressive narratives to works studying and revealing the character of the subjects being portrayed.”

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition was curated by Richard Waller, Executive Director, University Museums. The exhibition is made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund.

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