Portrait of Philip Roth, R. B. Kitaj
R. B. Kitaj
Portrait of Philip Roth
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R. B. Kitaj

Portrait of Philip Roth, 1985


Blatt
775 x 570 mm
Physical Description
Charcoal on handmade cotton paper
Inventory Number
17940
Object Number
17940 Z
Acquisition
Acquired 2021 in memory of Prof. Dr. Margret Stuffmann, long-time head of the Department of Prints and Drawings, property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
Status
Can be presented in the study room of the Graphische Sammlung (special opening hours)

Texts

About the Work

The American painter Ronald Brooks Kitaj (1932–2007) lived in London for more than thirty years. Like his artist friends David Hockney and Lucian Freud, he remained loyal to figurative art throughout his career, unperturbed by the predominance of abstract painting.

Kitaj’s foremost artistic theme was that of his own Jewish identity. In 1985, he made the acquaintance of the American-Jewish writer Philipp Roth (1933–2018), likewise in London. The same year, he drew Roth’s portrait in charcoal on heavy, ochre-coloured laid paper whose coarse surface, reminiscent of unprimed canvas, lends the charcoal line a haptic structure. It is this materiality that—along with the tension-filled alternation between sketchiness and perfected rendering—gives the drawing its character. Whereas the face has been developed to near three-dimensionality, the rest of the body is merely alluded to with a few decisive strokes. That is especially true of the propped-up leg, which pushes itself between the subject and the viewers like a barrier, keeping them at a distance as they come under Roth’s attentive gaze.

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Portrait of Philip Roth
Draughtsman
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Charcoal on handmade cotton paper
Technique
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert unten links (mit schwarzer Kohle): Kitaj
Watermark
  • Nicht vorhanden

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Creditline
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Eigentum des Städelschen Museums-Vereins e.V.
Picture Copyright
© R. B. Kitaj
Acquisition
Acquired 2021 in memory of Prof. Dr. Margret Stuffmann, long-time head of the Department of Prints and Drawings, property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

Work Content

Motifs and References

Genre
Main Motif
Persons Shown

Iconclass

Primary
  • 31D14 adult man
  • 61B2(ROTH, Philip)11(+54) historical person (ROTH, Philip) - historical person (ROTH, Philip) portrayed alone (+ three-quarter length portrait)
Secondary

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Last update

21.09.2022