(German, b. 1963)
Watercolor over graphite
Support: White wove paper
Sheet: 228.4 x 154.8 cm (89 15/16 x 60 15/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2002.16
Till Freiwald has taken a unique approach to painting the portrait. Working as other artists have for centuries, Freiwald paints small-scale sketches and studies of his subject using a live model. But he then breaks from tradition and sets those studies aside, dispenses with the model, and completes his monumental watercolors solely from memory. In this way, the artist creates a work that is at once eerily realistic but completely abstract.
Untitled is reminiscent of a passport picture, but Freiwald used a successive series of watercolor washes to impart an otherworldly glow to the girl's simplified features. A contemplative portrait, Untitled is also an image depicting the mind of the artist, which encourages reflection on the history of portraiture and the nature of identity and personal memory.
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