July 11, 2015 – December 13, 2015

Aspects of Portraiture addressed the various approaches to photographic portraiture taken by artists, ranging from classical pieces by Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Timothy Greenfield Sanders, to symbolic portraits by Patti Smith and John Coplans, to those that tell stories by artists like Adrian Piper and Carrie Mae Weems. Organized by Wadsworth Atheneum Director and CEO Susan Talbott, this selection of nearly 50 works examined social history, identity and race, as well as nostalgia for the traditional portraits that once defined photography, and outlines the transformation of photographic portraiture throughout modernist movements such as Dadaism and Surrealism. Unmediated traditional portraits going back to the 1940s are displayed in concert with symbolic portrayals using objects as surrogates for human subjects, and narrative portraits, often employing a mix of images and text. Such new approaches to capturing the core of human character are well represented in the Wadsworth Atheneum’s rich collection of post-war and contemporary photography, and came together for the first time in this thoughtful survey of portraiture from the museum.

James Welling, Dry Pigments, 2011 Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Gift of the artist, 2013.15.10

Related Programs
July 14 | Fundraiser: Opening Reception
September 24 | Gallery Talk: Portrait Photography: Faces, Stories and Symbols with Susan Talbott

Hartford Courant, August 18, Three ‘Aspects of Portraiture’ at Wadsworth by Susan Dunne

Above Images
Dawoud Bey, Lakeisha, Jackie and Crystal, 1996, Polacolor ER prints, eight panels, Gift Exchange through funds from The Larsen Fund for Photography, 1997.6.1a-h; Thomas Ruff, Portrait, 1990, Ektacolor; from an edition of 4, The Nancy and Robinson Grover Fund for Contemporary Art, 1996.47.1; Patti Smith, Robert’s Slippers, 2002, gelatin silver print, ed. 5/10, Purchased through the gift of Robinson A. and Nancy D. Grover, 2011.18.1