New Portrait Exhibition, Immortal Likeness opens at Fleming Museum

Burlington, VT- Selected from the Fleming's permanent collection of prints, drawings, watercolors and photographs will be a new exhibition showcasing the art of portraiture. Immortal Likeness: Portraits from the Permanent Collection will include a diverse collection of art, representative of the genre's many forms.

The history of Western portraiture has its roots in ancient Greece. There, in the 4th century B.C.E, coin portraits of Alexander the Great and portrait busts of notable figures and statesmen, such as Socrates and Plato, offered a mode of pictorial representation that increasingly emphasized individual attributes over collective ideals. Since then, portraiture has remained linked in varying degrees to the depiction of likeness, a concept that belies the fact that any portrait is inevitably shaped by a complex network of artistic traditions and social conventions. Portraits represent encounters between artists and subjects - exchanges that are undoubtedly influenced by assumptions about audience. Consequently, a portrait does not simply describe an individual, but rather actively engages issues of identity, perception, representation, and self-presentation.

Over the centuries, portraits have been commissioned and created with a variety of intentions and expectations. Traditionally, individuals (both public and private) commissioned portraits in different media to signify, commemorate, or even increase their wealth, political authority, and social or professional status. In such works, critical information was conveyed about the sitter through props, backgrounds, expressions, gestures, and dress. In the 20th century, however, avant-garde artists expanded the genre with formal innovations, such as non-naturalistic color and abstract form, which facilitated allusions to the sitters' unique personalities and psychological states.

The Fleming Museum's collection includes notable portraits by artists ranging from Anthony van Dyck and Rembrandt van Rijn to Max Beckmann, Margaret Bourke-White, and Amedeo Modigliani. Featuring prints, drawings, watercolors and photographs, Immortal Likeness offers an eye onto the various ways that Western artists have balanced the genre's claims to likeness against shifting social and artistic practices.

Download High Resolution Image
Image Info:
Louise Girard (After Jean_Auguste_Dominique Ingres), A Monsieur A. Leclerc: Ses Eleves et ses amis, 1850, Stipple engraving. Anonymous Gift (12.3MB)

Download High Resolution Image
Image Info:
Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Portrait of a Woman, 1914-1915, Soft Ground Etching. Gift of Mr & Mrs. Thomas Brown (6.5MB)

Download High Resolution Image
Image Info:
Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Lutma, 1656. Etching and drypoint. Gift of Henry Schnakenberg (3MB)


Immortal Likeness: Portraits from the Permanent Collection
DATES: Tuesday, June 13 through Sunday, August 27

$5 adults. $10 family, $3 students and seniors. Free to: Museum members; faculty, staff and students of UVM, Burlington College, Champlain College, Community College of Vermont, and St. Michael's College; Children 6 and under.