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Head with Flowing Hair, 1921

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff

German, 1884-1976
Watercolor and ink on laid paper
19 x 15-3/4 in. (48.3 x 40.0 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
P.1953.313
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

In 1905, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff became a founding member of the German Expressionist group Die Brücke, a Dresden-based artist collective dedicated to establishing a connection between the primitive work of the past and the art of the present by renouncing academic tradition. Schmidt-Rottluff was strongly influenced by the colorful palettes of van Gogh and Matisse, and though he began his career defining structure with the careful juxtaposition of flat areas of color, by the early 1920s he was using strong, simple lines to create form. This portrait is a superb example of the transition, as deep, jewel-toned washes fill jagged black lines that delineate eyes, nose, lips and hair. Though the depiction is admittedly stylized, the sitter resembles the artist’s wife, Emy Frisch, who was portrayed with similar features in a husband-and-wife double portrait that same year.

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