We’re Only Human
A Portrait Exhibition
Susan Soriente, LUX Center for the Arts Historical Collections Curator
A well-executed portrait is expected to show the inner essence of the subject and let you see across time and cultures. The subject’s face and expression are predominant, but the image can include all or part of the individual’s body too. Sometimes the intent of the artist is to portray the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person realistically, with the subject often looking directly at the artist, in order to most successfully engage the viewer. At other times, a portrait is a flattering unrealistic representation or abstracted and expressionistic.
Historically, portraits memorialized the rich and powerful or religious figures, but after the middle-class arose, wealthy art patrons commissioned portraits of their families and colleagues. Later, artists made portraits of themselves, friends, and relatives or created images of unnamed or unknown subjects.
Among the portraits in this exhibition, are lithographs by seven artists including Thomas Hart Benton, Gordon Grant, Marion Greenwood, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The etchings in the exhibition by James McNeil Whistler and Édouard Manet are master pieces of portraiture, each in their way strongly bringing the character of the subject to life. A self-portrait drawing by Gladys M. Lux, patron of the LUX Center is included in the exhibition also.
The eighteen prints comprising We’re Only Human may be seen in the Lux Historical Gallery on the second floor of the LUX Center from January 5, 2017 to May 2, 2017. The exhibition is curated by Susan Soriente, Curator of the Gladys M. Lux Print and Historical Collections.