Reflections/Refractions: Self Portraiture in the Twentieth Century

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At least since the Renaissance, artists have created wonderful images of themselves. Some self-portraits are the equivalent of a painter's "signature," while others were inspired by the need to establish social status or gain a commission. In the twentieth century, however, self-representation turned inward, becoming a means by which artists sought to navigate passageways of the mind. In Reflections/Refractions, some of the greatest modern artists—including Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Jacob Lawrence, Louise Bourgeois, David Hockney, Alexander Calder, and Alex Katz—use sinuous line and gorgeous color to trace the intricacies of their personalities, whether dark and gloomy or bright and fanciful. The book is at once a catalog of twentieth-century self-portraits in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and an exploration of how modern artists view themselves and the world. Eighty color illustrations—drawings and paintings—are accompanied by lively and informative captions, making this volume an endlessly fascinating book for the coffee table and library.


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