Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction

April 18, 2014 – January 11, 2015
Image ┬ęChuck Close/Courtesy Pace Gallery, Photography by Larry Sanders

National Portrait Gallery
8th and F Streets, NW
Washington, DC

2nd Floor, West Floor Plan

Over 50 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture from approximately 1945 to 1975 reveal how mid-20th century artists were reinventing portraiture at a moment when everyone agreed that figuration was dead as a progressive art form. With startling freshness and a touch of defiance, a group of young artists demonstrated the value of exploring the face and figure. Inspired by the theories and ambitions of the Abstract Expressionists and keenly attuned to the themes of their own turbulent times, they reinterpreted human portrayal, reinventing portraiture for the next generation.

Related book: Face Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction, Brandon Brame Fortune, Wendy Wick Reaves, and David C. Ward, with Patricia Quealy, and a new poem for this volume by John Ashbery (National Portrait Gallery in association with D Giles Limited, 2014)