Virginia Cuthbert (1908-2001), Self-Portrait, c. 1941; oil on board, 30 7/8 x 36 3/4 inches, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Virginia Cuthbert Elliott, 1994
In this confident self-portrait, Virginia Cuthbert paints herself in her element amongst the tools of her trade. With definitive paint strokes as well as multiple layers and colors, she uses a Post-Impressionist style. Like looking through a window, you get a glimpse of her everyday life and the talent she possessed. Several other painting projects are propped up in her workspace surrounded by the clutter of her artistic process. Cuthbert had a long career in the arts, sharing her passions for art and traveling with her husband, Philip Clarkson Elliott, who also was a painter, photographer, and educator.
A self-portrait is an artistic representation of oneself. Virginia Cuthbert adds a lot of detail in her self-portrait so we can see what her painting studio looked like. We get a glimpse of how she created such beautiful paintings and the different tools she used. If you were to create a self-portrait, how would you depict yourself? Would you include any specific details like Cuthbert did in her painting? Could you create a self-portrait of what you hope to become in the future?
—Amanda L. Niemi, 2015