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November 3, 2011 / 6:30 PM

6:30 pm / Blank One Gallery
FREE admission

Join Associate Curator Laura Burkhalter for an informal discussion of this exhibition.

Drawn from the Art Center’s permanent collections, Vincent van Gogh and the
Psychology of Portraiture
was inspired by the recent acquisition of Vincent van Gogh’s
Portrait of Dr. Gachet (L’Homme à la Pipe), 1890. The only etching van Gogh ever made,
the work vividly portrays the doctor who treated and befriended him during the last months
of his life. Etched with the artist’s signature swirling lines and emotional intensity, Van Gogh
presents Dr. Gachet in a similar somber manner to his painting of the same man, with what
he described as the “heartbroken expression of our time,” and one that recalls many of the
artist’s own self-portraits. Following the spirit of this work, several psychologically-charged
portraits have been chosen not only for their emotional intensity but for the way they reveal
each artist’s expressive powers. Oscar Wilde said that “Every portrait that is painted with
feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” Spanning over a hundred years and
various types of media, the works in this exhibition reveal much about artist, subject, and the
creative dialogue between the two. In addition to van Gogh, other artists on view include
Lucian Freud, Chuck Close, and Andy Warhol.

Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890) Portrait of Dr.Gachet (L'Homme à la Pipe),
May 25, 1890 (detail)
Etching on paper, 13 7/8 x 10 3/8 inches
Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collection; Purchased with funds from the
Mildred M. Bohen Deaccession Fund and from funds given by Harriet Macomber
in Memory of J. Locke Macomber, 2011.4



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