Portraiture Reinstallation

Rethinking the portraiture section of the permanent collection

Posted by Kimberly Singer January 20, 2010

The Kemper Art Museum recently installed a new selection of works in the Portraiture section of its thematically arranged permanent collection gallery. The installation, which includes a selection of works by major avant-garde artists including Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, and Philip Guston, reflects the Museum’s broad collection of paintings and prints by early twentieth-century modernist artists.

As Karen Butler, assistant curator, explains: “We decided to bring out works that are not often shown, such as Pablo Picasso’s caricature-like Head of a Woman from 1944 and his more elegantly linear print Woman with a Necklace from 1947. Exhibited in the same gallery with his Portrait of Sylvette (1954) and the amazing, group portrait Women of Algiers (1955), we now have quite a selection of works by Picasso on display. We have also brought out two fabulous portraits by American artist George Bellows and Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, both from the 1910s.” Taken as a whole, the works in this section provide a fascinating lens through which to examine the myriad ways in which artists have engaged with and expanded the category of portraiture throughout the twentieth century.