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Catherine Murphy Self-Portrait

Title
Still Life, Self-Portrait and Landscape
Artist
Catherine Murphy, born 1946
Sitter
Catherine Murphy, born 1946
Date
1976
Type
Print
Medium
Lithograph on paper
Dimensions
Image: 32.4 × 28.1 cm (12 3/4 × 11 1/16")
Sheet: 66.2 x 50.7cm (26 1/16 x 19 15/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; the Ruth Bowman and Harry Kahn Twentieth-Century American Self-Portrait Collection
Restrictions & Rights
© Catherine Murphy
Object number
S/NPG.2002.304
Exhibition Label
For decades, Catherine Murphy has been making paintings, drawings, and prints that engage rigorously with commonplace subjects through intense observation. A realist painter based in New England and New York City, she has tackled landscapes, still lifes, and figures throughout her career. She has also made self-portraiture a recurring subject, presenting her likeness in complex spaces. Unsentimental and honest, Murphy’s portraits pull us into a dialogue about art and representation. In this self-portrait, made when the artist was about thirty, we see three visual planes—the still life on the table, the artist’s figure in the middle ground, and the landscape revealed through the open window behind her. The darkness of the interior and the dramatic yet soft light creates a sense of intimacy and calm strength. Murphy likens her work to poetry: "How do you take something ordinary, that people see every day, and frame it so that you change the equation? That same thing happens in a poem."
A lo largo de varias décadas, Catherine Murphy ha creado pinturas, dibujos y grabados que exploran temas de lo cotidiano con rigor e intensa observación. Radicada en Nueva Inglaterra y Nueva York, la artista ha trabajado en un estilo realista el paisaje, la naturaleza muerta y la figura humana. El autorretrato es uno de sus temas recurrentes, y suele ubicar su imagen en espacios complejos. Honestos y sin sentimentalismo, sus retratos nos llevan a un diálogo sobre el arte y la representación. En este autorretrato de Murphy cuando tenía unos treinta años, vemos tres planos visuales: la naturaleza muerta en la mesa, la figura de la artista en el plano medio y el paisaje que se revela a través de la ventana abierta detrás de ella. La oscuridad del interior y la luz dramática, aunque suave, crean una sensación de intimidad y energía serena. Murphy compara su trabajo con la poesía: "¿Cómo tomas algo ordinario, que la gente ve todos los días, y lo enmarcas para lograr cambiar esa percepción? Es lo mismo que sucede en un poema".
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection