Pieter Schoolwerth
American, born 1970
AT LARGE (Part 1 and 2),
Reyes Projects
New York By Night,
HDM Gallery

Pieter Schoolwerth considers art history the primary subject of his paintings: “I’ve never been particularly interested in expressing myself through painting,” he says. “Rather, I prefer to use paintings from the past as the raw material upon which to ground my entire practice.” Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Schoolwerth produced Surrealist-inspired figurative paintings, but he is now best known for his ongoing “Portraits of Paintings” series (2010), in which he scrambles the compositions of Old Master works made between the 16th and 18th centuries. Schoolwerth methodically traces the original paintings’ individual figures, still life objects, or landscape elements, then superimposes them on his canvas to create one hybrid mass. His sources have included works by Pieter Bruegel, Abraham Bloemaert, Thomas Cole, Dosso Dossi, Jacob van Ruisadel, and Eugène Delacroix.