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Charley Toorop @ the Stedelijk Museum

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A blog post about the work of underknown painter Charley Toorop.

Toorop’s painting Self-Portrait with Hat and Voile "is emblematic of her later 'realistic' style. Features that help to define a painting’s realistic appearance are usually accurately rendered shadows, light, textures and colors. We believe the sitter’s physicality and presence. We relate in a similar fashion to the painted semblance as we would to the actual person. Her face is roughly life-sized, looking out at us with heavy eyes, but if it wasn’t for the veil, her painting would be far more ordinary. There is an incredible gestural richness and variety in the veil’s make-up. Toward the edges of the veil, individual strokes adopt the (impressionistic) qualities of moving water or swaying grass. Her face, on the other hand, is treated much more lightly. The veil is transparent here. It feels airy, porous and light… By painting the veil in the way she did, Toorop elegantly merges two opposing notions of representation. And by doing so, she realizes a crucial aspect of painting: to make something ordinary appear in a new light."

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