Charles Le Clair, Self Portrait

Charles Le Clair: Self Portrait (1943) Oil on canvas
Self Portrait
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of Bill Scott, 2011
19 ½" x 24"

Charles Le Clair's Self-Portrait is a haunting representation of the artist's search for identity. Le Clair presents two opposing self-images: the beautiful young man in the mirror, and the haggard sculpture whose shroud is being lifted by a strange disembodied hand. The objects in the painting suggest the passage of time: a clock indicates that it is five minutes to twelve, the candle is burned, and the flowers are wilting. Nowhere is there a "real” person -only a reflection, a sculpture, and a cast of a hand.

Born in Columbia, Missouri, Le Clair studied at the University of Wisconsin and went on to teach art at numerous schools, including the University of Alabama, Albright Art School in Buffalo, and Chatham College in Pittsburgh, before becoming dean of Temple University's Tyler School of Art in 1960. One of his most significant contributions to the lives of aspiring artists was establishing Tyler School of Art in Rome in 1966. Le Clair was widely known as a gifted watercolorist and oil painter, and his work has been exhibited at Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art inWashington, DC; the Art Institute of Chicago, and other galleries and major museums.


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