The Art of Heads. Art Basel 2023

Despite the appearance of photography in the 19th century, the abundance of headshots is impressive proof that portraiture has by no means lost its raison d’être with the spread of the new technology. While the original character was reduced to the depicting function, modern painting no longer wants to be understood as a graphic reference to reality and to determine its own conditions and laws.

Galerie Michael Haas illustrates the resulting dualism of imitation and formal liberation with a series of head depictions in art. It shows the unchanged high level of interest in people, their shape, their gaze, their appearance and the mental landscapes that hide behind them.

Starting with Paula Modersohn-Becker’s reduced vocabulary of forms, through Ferdinand Hodler’s striking frontality to Jean Fautrier’s ethereal, almost abstract heads or Frank Auerbach’s gestural works, Galerie Michael Haas shows the diversity in 20th-century portraiture.

Other works, for example by Konrad Klapheck, Arnulf Rainer, Louise Nevelson or George Rickey, expand the program of Galerie Michael Haas from post-war figuration to abstraction in sculptural works.

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