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Q: Dead white males ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   10 Comments )
Subject: Dead white males
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Visual Arts
Asked by: sa-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 04 Jun 2002 03:06 PDT
Expires: 04 Jul 2002 03:06 PDT
Question ID: 20593
I asked this question previously, but accidentally closed it. Here it is again:

There is (or was) an exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
that featured a gallery of black and white photos of dead white males,
perhaps 50 of them. I have recently found myself haunted by this
exhibition and would like to see it again, on the Web.  
I saw it in on about 14 June 2001. I got the impression that it was
the work of a single artist, because all of the photos were presented
in a similar way. They were manipulated copies of classic publicity

Clarification of Question by sa-ga on 04 Jun 2002 06:08 PDT
I'm sorry, grimace and jeremymiles... my question incorrectly implied
that the subjects of the photographs were dead when the photos were

I believe that Richter is our man. "In 1971 he painted a series of "48
Portraits" based on photographic "mug shots" of famous dead white
males picked out from an encyclopedia." "In the 1990s, Richter
produced boxed sets of photographs made from the "48 Portraits"
paintings, themselves once based on photographs."

I would love to buy one of those sets.

May I say how terrific it is to have such fantastic researchers
available so easily and quickly. Go Google!

searchbot-ga, if you have nothing more to add, please post your
material as an answer and five stars will be immediately forthcoming.
Subject: Re: Dead white males
Answered By: seedy-ga on 04 Jun 2002 11:24 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The exhibit of Richter's work at MOMA in NYC ended on May 21, 2002. 
The work entitled "48 Portraits" was beautfully exhibited around the
upper section of a large stairwell/landing.  You are fortunate to have
the total exhibit traveling on the following schedule:

*  The Art Institute of Chicago   June 22 - September 15, 2002
* San Francisco Museum of Modern Art  October 11, 2002 - January 14,
* Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden  February 20 - May 18, 2003

This work resides permanently at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne,

This people depicted in each painting (Oil on canvas)(transposed from
photographs)(70 x 55 cm) (painted 1971-1972) are in the order shown
from left to right:
Mihail Sadoveanu (1880-1961), Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), Otto
Schmeil (1860-1943), Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), William James
(1842-1910), Arrigo Boito (1842-1910), Jean Sibelius (1865-1957), Igor
Stravinsky (1882-1957), Hans Pfitzner (1969-1949), Pyotr Illich
Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Frederic Joliot (1900-1958), Herbert George
Wells (1866-1946), James Chadwick (1891-1974), Alfredo Casella
(1883-1947), Max Planck (1858-1947), Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
(1902-1984), James Franck (1882-1964), Paul Claudel (1968-1955),
Manuel de Falla 1876-1946), Nicolai Hartmann (1882-1950), Paul Valery
(1871-1945), Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), John
Dos Passos (1896-1970), Alfred Mombert (1872-1942), Patrick Maynard
Stuart Blackett (1897-1974), Bjornsjerne Bjornson (1832-1910), Franz
Kafka (1883-1924), Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), Louis Victor de
Broglie (1892-1987), Saint-John Perse (1887-1975), Graham Greene
(1904-1991), Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), Alfred Adler (1870-1937),
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929),
Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916), Isidor Isaac
Rabi (1898-1988), Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Francois Mauriac
(1885-1970), Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875-1926), William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), Karl Manne Siegbahn
(1886-1978), Andre Gide (1869-1951, Anton Webern (1883-1945), Rudolf
Borchardt (1877-1945).

As you will note, all of the subjects of this work were NOT DEAD at
the time of the paintings.  The selection of individuals is eclectic
and facinating.

A list of various pricing options for the catalog from this exhibition
is available at the following URL: lists it for $78.99.

I have not been able to find these images online as yet.  If I do,
I'll be sure to add them to this answer.

The exhibit at MOMA was fabulous.  The variety of styles are off
putting as if the artist was sampling everything from impressionism to
abstract impressionism to Op Art....but somehow it all hangs together
for me and forms a lasting impression as the "48 Portraits" did to

I hope you enjoy the exhibit when it arrives at SFMOMA. 

Thank you for asking GA this interesting question.

sa-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you, team. Great answer!

Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: grimace-ga on 04 Jun 2002 03:46 PDT
Hi - after a good long search, the only show remotely close to the one
you're after was an exhibition of Joel Sternfeld's photography - and
unfortunately, his work is in black & white (and includes portraits of

Are you *sure* you've got the right date and city?
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: jeremymiles-ga on 04 Jun 2002 04:14 PDT
The closest I have found is:

Police Pictures: the photograph as evidence, although this exhibition
ended in 1998.

See for the
book of photos.  (I don't think you will find them on the web.)

Hope that helps 9if only a little).
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: searchbot-ga on 04 Jun 2002 04:16 PDT
The artist you're probably looking for is Gerhard Richter. There was
an exhibition of his works at the SF MOMA around June, 2001.
[ ]

Until only recently, the NY MOMA showed "Gerhard Richter: 40 years of
painting"; a review by Michael Salcman specifically mentiones the dead
white male paintings you are obviously looking for.
[ ] 

This source also states that the exhibition will move on to the
Hirshhorn Museum in Washington  [ ] sometime
after May 21, 2002. On their site, this particular exhibition is not
(yet) mentioned, but they have featured Richter in the past. You may
want to get in touch with them directly to find out more.

SF -> Washington may be somewhat of a trip, but if you're really
haunted by those paintings, you may even want to take this into
serious consideration.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: dr_chung-ga on 04 Jun 2002 04:23 PDT

I think here is a main part of your answer:

Good luck.
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: searchbot-ga on 04 Jun 2002 11:34 PDT
So the exhibition comes right back to you. How convenient! :) I think
I'm gonna take a closer look at Richter. Seems very interesting. I
hadn't heard of him before.
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: searchbot-ga on 04 Jun 2002 11:35 PDT
So the exhibition comes right back to you. How convenient! :) I think
I'm gonna take a closer look at Richter. Seems very interesting. I
hadn't heard of him before.
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: searchbot-ga on 04 Jun 2002 11:40 PDT
So the exhibition comes right back to you. How convenient! :) I think
I'm gonna take a closer look at Richter. Seems very interesting. I
hadn't heard of him before.
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: searchbot-ga on 04 Jun 2002 12:28 PDT
I checked again if I could come up with actual images, but I have only
come close. You'll see what I mean. :) First some tidbit: did you know
that in 1991, Gottfried Helnwein -- an Austrian Artist -- painted "48
female characters" in response to Richter's work? He chose red as the
dominating color, however. It was even discussed that Helnwein's women
were to face the men in the entrance hall of the Museum Ludwig,
Cologne. It doesn't seem that this idea was realized, though. The
first source has a picture in it which shows Helnwein, accompanied by
famous German feminist Alice Schwarzer. (Schwarzer, had -- according
to the text -- been publicly raving about the fact that Richter had
only painted men, which eventually triggered the idea in Helnwein to
create female counterparts.) Anyway, in the background, you see some
of Richter's original portraits. I know you're looking for the
photographies, but I still thought this might interest you.

"48 female characters"

Links concerning Gerhard Richter

Some of Richter's other works online

Hope you found this interesting. I certainly did. 

Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: seedy-ga on 04 Jun 2002 12:50 PDT
The wonderful link posted by searchbot-ga relating the show by
Gottfried Helnwein ("48 Portraits" of women) is very interesting.  The
background shows one painting (top left) which appears to be a man
rather than a woman but it is NOT one of Richter's original 48 men.  I
believe it is one of Richter's many self portraits but am not able to
confirm it at this time.
Subject: Re: Dead white males
From: mosquitohawk-ga on 06 Jun 2002 12:10 PDT

From: Bernard Cummings <>    [Save address] 

Subject: Photographs but not...
Date: Thursday, 6 June 2002 11:24:34 -0700 
[Show all headers] [Printer-friendly version]  

Hello My name is Bernard Cummings and I am the concierge of SFMOMA. the
Photographs of the 50 dead men are in fact paintings by artist Gerhard
Richter whom we will be having a retrospective of his work in October. The
were part of Points of Departure 1 last summer. It is amazing how much they
actually look like photos. They are a part of our permanent collection.


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