I mentioned the other day that I’d bought an etching by Hans Hofmann, the great abstract-expressionist painter and teacher whose work I love. What’s especially striking about this etching, at least from my point of view, is that it’s one of only three figurative works of art out of the two dozen pieces in the Teachout Museum, and the only one in which the subject’s face is fully visible. Milton Avery’s “March at a Table” is a portrait of March, the artist’s daughter, but her face is concealed, and in Pierre Bonnard’s “Femme assise dans sa bagnoire,” Marthe, the artist’s mistress, has turned her head away from the viewer. Since people who buy art normally buy what they like (unless they’re snobs or investment-oriented collectors), I always took it for granted that my unconscious avoidance of the human face said something significant about me. But I never did figure out what it was, and in any case my purchase of “Woman’s Head” presumably says something no less significant.
The woman in question, by the way, is a most interesting piece of work—pensive, not conventionally “beautiful” by any conventional definition of the word, and yet I can’t take my eyes off her….
Read the whole thing here.