Revealing the enduring power of art’s oldest genre, About Face: Portraits from the Berman Museum Collection brings together numerous examples of portraiture from the Renaissance to today. Featuring more than 50 works by an eclectic mix of artists—from little-known or even anonymous practitioners to famous figures like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein—these portraits from the Berman Museum’s rich collection speak to our unwavering fascination with staring at the image of another person. No matter who it depicts, a portrait will always hold our attention.
Our collective and continued interest in how we perceive ourselves and each other ensures that the progression of portraiture will continue for centuries to come. Today, as we are all well-aware, portraits are ubiquitous—“selfies” and smartphones have made everyone an artist, as digital photographs are made by the billions each year and posted online for the whole world to see. But before the invention of photography in the mid-nineteenth century, a portrait, typically a painting, was a luxury reserved primarily for the wealthy. This contrast between the history of portraiture and its recent democratization only amplifies the significance of the Berman’s presentation of portraits, which we might understand as an introduction, so to speak, for whatever future representations of the human face will captivate us in portraiture’s next iteration.