Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Art Review - "Self-Portrait" by Sir William Orpen

For today's #MuseumTourTuesday, here is a self portrait by Irish artist Sir William Orpen at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

I love the bold choice of yellow as a background color, similar to a piece I featured earlier this year by FrantiĊĦek Kupka. Orpen portrays himself in front of one of his own works, "Sowing New Seed," a political observation on the state of the arts in Ireland. He is known for a series of self portraits in which he often depicts himself in the act of painting or in costume.
 
Orpen was a very successful portrait painter, promoted by the likes of John Singer Sargent. In 1915, he was commissioned into the British Army Service Corps and painted throughout the battlefields of WWI. In 1952, some 20 years after the artist's death, the director of the Tate Gallery criticized every aspect of Orpen's work, causing most of his paintings to be pulled from display. The artist was largely forgotten in the UK until a major retrospective in 2005 reestablished his place in British and Irish culture. The ebb and flow of popular painting never ceases to amaze me.
 
Sir William Orpen • "Self-Portrait" • Oil on Canvas • 48 3/8" x 35 3/8" • 1913
 
Painting photo by Saunders Fine Arts.
 
© Patrick and Kimberly Saunders, Patrick Saunders Fine Arts, 2022. 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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