Hans Richter: Visionary Portraits

Hans Richter, Visionary Portrait, c. 1917, oil on canvas (photo: Steve Roden, co
Hans Richter, Visionary Portrait, c. 1917, oil on canvas (photo: Steve Roden, courtesy of LACMA)

Steve Roden blogs about the "visionary portraits" of Hans Richter, which can be seen in the exhibition Hans Richter: Encounters at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on view through September 2, 2013.

Roden writes: "these look quite a bit like german expressionist portraits, but they somehow feel stranger, less guided. at first glance, they seemed connected to the paintings of composer/painter arnold schoenberg. the wall text for the visionary portraits (i believe that the word 'visionary' was richter's), reveals that richter painted these works at twilight - a time when colors were 'indistinguishable', where the light and atmosphere would put him into 'a sort of auto-hypnotic trance... thus the picture took shape before the inner, rather than the outer, eye.' i have to say this whole story kind of floored me - and of course, i was excited to see this idea of limited vision or limiting one's technical facilities as a huge precedent in finding ways to explore a more creative way of articulation... and in richter's case it seemed to be less looking and more groping."