Portrait of a Painter

> german version

Fictious acoustic image,1994
Gerard Don (1613 - 1675): Portrait of a Painter, 1650 Wood, 47 x 36 cm
A picture of the Parrhasios Collection frame, rope cordon, walkman with audio tape loop, 2'

“Let’s first turn our attention to a painting that represents the collection in a particularly fitting way: a so-called nisstuk – a ‘niche-piece’ or ‘window niche’ – with a self-portrait by the Rembrandt pupil Gerard Dou. In the framing architectural motif, which first appears in the work of Rembrandt, it is possible to make out, in the faint light, a studio scene: an easel, a paint grinder and an onlooker. The interior is bordered by a red curtain hanging in front of the window, which has been gathered to either side.

The painter is seen, brightly lit, leaning in the multiple framing of the window opening; the illustrated book in front of him hangs over the ledge towards us. However, the aesthetic border doesn’t end here. Our gaze falls on a note attached to the window frame, whose folded corner seems to sticks out, creating a trompe-l’oeil effect. This ensemble is apparently mounted in a painted, black frame, on the front of which a green curtain has been attached.

Curtain, frame, protruding book and note, multiple framing of the window opening, curtain, the depth of the studio space – a small Baroque theatre of illusion. Form and content complement each other perfectly. The picture acts as a commentary on painting with the attributes and means of painting. As in a display window, Dou’s art shows – literally speaking – everything that it is capable of. It is a  work of artifice in the purest form, confirming – even exceeding – the requirements of the collection.”

Voice (Englisch): David Freedberg, Audiofile (Quicktime)
Voice (German): Klaus Piontek, Deutsches Theater Berlin, Audiofile (Quicktime)

Translation: Ben Carter

Shown at:

1993 Hamburg, Rathaus Altona
1995 Berlin, Galerie Wohnmaschine
1996 Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum
Plüschow, Schloß Plüschow
Cottbus, Brandenburgische Kunstsammlungen
1997 Berlin, Berlinische Galerie im Lapidarium
2008 Saarbrücken, Stadtgalerie