Thursday, November 7, 2019

"Carl Sandburg" by William Arthur Smith - Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Here is an excellent portrait of celebrated American poet Carl Sandburg by William Arthur Smith at the National Portrait Gallery

Notice the difference between the traditional painting approach to the head and the modernist approach to the hands and lower body. The strong black marks in the blanket are reminiscent of Franz Kline or Willem de Kooning paintings.

There is a wonderful energy to the sketchy nature of the lower half of the painting that takes this piece beyond a standard portrait. The unfinished nature of the portrait gives the sense of a very animated sitter.

"Carl Sandburg" • William A. Smith • 1961 • Oil on Canvas • 39" x 36"

While more academically painted, the approach to the head is still made up of unblended brushwork. This texture ties the rendered face to the rest of the painting and gives a sense of movement.

"Carl Sandburg" Detail • William A. Smith • 1961 • Oil on Canvas • 39" x 36"
 The hands are very simply sketched in. This adds to the overall movement of the piece, and also plays them down in importance. Our eyes are fixed on the face of the sitter.

"Carl Sandburg" Detail • William A. Smith • 1961 • Oil on Canvas • 39" x 36"
Photos by Kimberly at Saunders Fine Arts.

© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s authors/owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Patrick Saunders for painted works, or to Kimberly Saunders for photographs and/or videos, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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