Thomas Ehretsmann, “Double Portrait,” 2016, acrylic on board, 30 x 40 cm. © Thomas Ehretsmann 2017

In this ongoing series, Fine Art Today delves into the world of portraiture, highlighting historical and contemporary examples of superb quality and skill. This week we feature a “Double Portrait” that is fragile and timeless.

Born in Mulhouse, France, Thomas Ehretsmann (b.1974) is an artist known for his tightly rendered, exquisitely executed portraits, two of which have been featured in the prestigious BP Portrait Awards in London. His work has also been displayed in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Elle magazines and is included in many private collections.

This week’s feature portrait, titled “Double Portrait,” was recently honored by the 2017 BP Portrait Awards. The painting is a breathtaking and intimate portrayal of the artist’s wife, Caroline, as the two walked through a park. Ehretsmann has suggested that he was struck by the way the light illuminated her face, which reminded him of the naturalist painters Jules Bastien-Lepage and Emile Friant.

The portrait shows Caroline in strict profile, facing toward the viewer’s right. The portrait is cropped just below her shoulder and above her head, heightening the closeness and intimacy of the picture. She wears a black high-collared coat and black gloves, and Caroline’s face is a flash of brilliant light in an otherwise dark composition. The dark green and blue landscape behind her as well as her dark-brown hair also accentuate this perception of the piece. Each detail of Caroline’s face has been captured with a focus and knowledge that only a husband (and extremely talented painter) could attain.

Via the BP Portrait Awards webpage, “The artist used multiple layers of semi-transparent acrylic paint in order to mix a fragile instant with something more timeless, a technique often used in his art. The title, ‘Double Portrait,’ suggests the passage from one state of being to another as Caroline was eight months pregnant at the time.”

To learn more, visit the BP Portrait Awards.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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