January 12, 2012

Portland Museum of Art will Showcase Portraits of Lucille Ball and Other Celebrities

This gelatin silver print of Lucille Ball
was done by Philippe Halsman in 1950
This winter, the Portland Museum of Art will showcase its growing collection of celebrity portraits, highlighting two newly acquired portfolios of works by artists Berenice Abbott and Robert Doisneau.

"Making Faces: Photographic Portraits of Actors and Artists" features 35 black-and-white photographic portraits of recognizable television personalities and famous artists.

It also includes a selection of paintings, drawings and sculptures by leading European modernists such as Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger and Jean Arp, along with their photographic portraits.

The exhibit, on view Jan. 14 to April 8, reveals the sometimes surprising ways in which appearance, poses and props help define the public's perception of an artist’s work — both on the stage and in the museum.

Other photographers whose works will be on view include Philippe Halsman, with his ground-breaking images of notable early television comics such as Lucille Ball, Jimmy Durante and Imogene Coca, whose wildly expressive faces helped forge their careers.

Barbara Morgan’s photographs of noted choreographer Martha Graham further capture the essence of modern dance in similarly exaggerated movements.

The exhibition also includes a close look at some of America’s most recognizable artistic personalities — Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth and Robert Indiana — masters of public relations, as well as the canvas.

The third-floor Konkel Gallery will be devoted to Maine photographer David Etnier’s extensive portrait project, which focuses on the work of his father, Stephen Etnier, and their artist friends who have dominated the Maine art scene for the past 30 years.

On display will be portraits of some of Maine’s favorite artists, including Dozier Bell, Alan Bray, Brett Bigbee, Jack Heliker and Karl Schrag. Each photograph will be juxtaposed with a work of art drawn from the museum’s permanent holdings. Collectively, these works highlight the story of Maine art over the past 50 years.

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