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TRAUMA: Built to break exhibition at the Dublin Science Gallery, Dublin, Ireland includes
four self - portraits of William Utermohlen.

William Utermohlen’s ‘Self’, a self-portrait drawn in 1967, sees the artist with hunched shoulders, a receding hairline, and a delicate neck that speak of premature ageing and a sense of vulnerability. William was diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in 1995. He returned to the self-portrait for his last body of work — Self-Portraits — drawn over a period of five years as his illness progressed.
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‘Self’ is accompanied by three portraits from this period.
In ‘Self-Portrait (Red)’, drawn in 1996, the front part of the skull — the source of William’s illness — is sharply outlined in red and green. Sadness, anxiety, resignation, and the feeling of feebleness are all apparent in the asymmetrical features of
‘Self-Portrait (Green)’ drawn in 1997. William expresses his emotions with remarkable precision using a new style of rough brushwork and bold drawing.
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‘Head I’ is one of the last, drawn in 2000. A deepening crack runs through the centre of the face in this haunting sketch. The staring eyes are now like empty dark cavities, fixed onto a head turning into a skull.
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William Utermohlen studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1951 to 1957 and at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford in 1957 to 1958. In 1962 he settled in London, where he met and married the art historian Patricia Redmond.

Apart from portraits, still lives and drawings from the model, Will’s art can be arranged in six clear thematic cycles:
The "Mythological" paintings of 1962-63,
the "Cantos" of 1965-1966 inspired by Dante’s Inferno,
the "Mummers" cycle of 1969-1970 depicting characters from South Philadelphia’s New Year’s Day parade,
the "War" series of 1972 alluding to the Vietnam war,
the "Nudes" of 1973-74
and finally the "Conversation Pieces", the great decorative interiors with figures, of 1989-1991.

In 1995 William was diagnosed as suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He passed away in 2007.

Since their exhibition by the Wellcome Trust in London in 2001, these last portraits have received an increased recognition by the medical community, the press and the public. They have been exhibited in Harvard in 2005, Philadelphia, New York in 2006, at the Cité des Sciences in Paris, the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in 2007 and at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2008 and the Musée de la Civilization, Quebec in 2010.

The artist’s work is represented by Chris Boïcos Fine Arts in Paris, France.
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