10 Brilliant Likenesses of Artists, Captured by Fellow Artists

Artsy Editorial
Aug 26, 2013 2:16PM

1. Berthe Morisot by Édouard Manet (1872)

One of the few females to infiltrate the Impressionist circle, Morisot sat for a total of 11 portraits by Manet. The two forged a close relationship, although two years after this portrait was painted, Morisot married Manet’s younger brother Eugene.

2. Edgar Degas by Maurice Denis (1906)

Denis frequently visited an aging Degas in the early 1900s, capturing several likenesses of him in paintings and sketches. When Degas died ten years later, Denis was commissioned to produce an etching for an album dedicated to the Impressionist master.

3. Joseph Beuys by Andy Warhol (1980)

Although they weren’t close friends, Beuys and Warhol shared a mutual respect for each other’s work; indeed, both were masters of elevating mass media and everyday objects to a level of high art. “I like the politics of Beuys,” Warhol once said. “He should come to the U.S. and be politically active there. That would be great … he should be president.”

4. Kenny Scharf by Francesco Clemente (1988)

Scharf and Clemente were friends on New York’s explosive 1980s art scene, part of a cohort that included the likes of Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. This portrait epitomizes Clemente’s style and the Neo-Expressionist return to figuration, expressive and exaggerated yet an unmistakable likeness just the same.

5. Alice Neel by Judy Glantzman (1999)

As both women are known for their psychologically expressive figuration, it’s only fitting that the younger Glantzman would pay tribute to Neel in a massive portrait. This cross-generational ode was painted some 15 years after Neel’s passing in 1984.

6. Chuck Close by Lee Stoetzel (2009)

In an ironic, Pop-inflected commentary on consumer culture, Stoetzel has re-created everything from McDonald’s french fries to a Volkswagen bus in wood. Here, he remakes Close’s classic Big Self-Portraitfrom 1967 by literally burning the image into plywood.

7. Lucian Freud by Zeng Fanzhi (2011)

Painted from a photograph of Freud holding his pet fox, this portrait was painted, Fanzhi says, “in order to pay my respects” to an artist he had long admired. In each of his portraits, Fanzhi listens to what he thinks the subject would have wanted to hear; in the case of Freud, Fanzhi played the score for Schindler’s List, composed by John Williams.

8. John Baldessari by Joe Sola (2011)

Sola’s heavily conceptual practice is concerned with the role of the artist as participant and recorder of political and cultural events. Here, the metaphor is obvious: Baldessari is Moses, delivering the Ten Commandments down from the mountain.

9. Alex Katz by Elizabeth Peyton (2012)

It’s no wonder Peyton paid tribute to Katz with this portrait: Peyton is often compared to Katz for her stylized, flattened brand of portraiture, which she uses to capture everyone from her family and friends to her personal heroes.

10. Kara Walker by Chuck Close (2012)

Before creating this likeness of Kara Walker, Close took a dozen large Polaroids, which he reviewed with the sitter. “We’re both involved in the process,” he said. “I try to take a range of expressions—though I like something neutral. I don’t want laughing or crying or smirking. I just leave it neutral or flat-footed, and leave it up to the viewer to decode the image.”

Artsy Editorial