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Portrait of a Man

This portrait of a gaunt man with clasped hands (believed to be a self-portrait of the artist) reflects the anxiety in Weimar Germany following World War I, as well as the Expressionist artists’ interest in Gothic and Renaissance art. These artists revived Germany’s long-established woodcut tradition, which harkened back to work by masters like Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer. However, unlike the finesse of the older printmakers, Heckel and the others favored a rough carving style that revealed the properties of the woodblock and the hand of the carver. He, likewise, hand-applied the intense colors with a paintbrush, rather than a roller, creating unique variant editions that blurred the boundaries between painting and printmaking.

Erich Heckel
German, 1883-1970
Portrait of a Man (Männerbildnis)
1919
Color woodcut on paper
Image: 18 3/6 x 12 15/16 in. (46.1 x 32.8 cm); sheet: 12 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.
(55.2 x 45.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Jane and Roger Wolcott Memorial, Gift of Thomas T. Solley, 72.133

Large image not available.