Walter SHIRLAW (Paisley 1838 - Madrid 1909)

Self-Portrait Sold

Black and grey gouache en grisaille, heightened with white, on paper, within a fictive mount drawn in white gouache. Laid down.
Signed W. Shirlaw at the lower left.
121 x 89 mm. (4 3/4 x 3 1/2 in.) [image]
193 x 154 mm. (7 5/8 x 6 in.) [sheet]


As Judith Barter has noted of the present sheet, at the time of its exhibition in 1980, ‘Shirlaw (1839-1909) was a Munich trained artist whose Self Portrait reflects the Munich emphasis on dramatic darks, impasto brushwork, and simple subject matter. This work is romantic in feeling, playing upon the theme of the intense, sensitive artist. But it is also realistic.’

Of the same drawing, Colin Eisler has written, ‘Self-cast as the Great American Bohemian Hero, Walter Shirlaw stares out balefully at his mirrored image, recreated with very considerable skill. His pose and gaze recall those of Poe, or Stevenson, or Baudelaire – men of letters as well as dandies – equally interested in how they see as in how they look.’

A painted self-portait by Shirlaw, dated 1878, is in the Art Institute of Chicago, while another is in the collection of the National Academy of Design in New York.

Jeffrey R. Brown Fine Arts, North Amherst, MA.
Paul Magriel, New York
Robert S. Pirie, New York.

Colin Eisler, ‘Drawn to Life: The Magriel Collection’, in New York, National Academy of Design, American Drawings: Paul Magriel Collection, 1979-1980, unnumbered, illustrated pl.15; Judith A. Barter, ‘Introduction’, in Amherst College, Mead Art Museum, American Figure Drawings: The Paul Magriel Collection, 1980, unpaginated, no.37, illustrated.




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