Scottish painter/engraver William Strang’s self-portrait is part of ‘From the Pages of PAN’ exhibition

By Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator

To mark the special exhibition From the Pages of PAN: Art Nouveau Prints, 1895‒1900 (on view through January 29, 2023), we are sharing this print from our collection. An identical version of this work (from the collection of the Driehaus Museum, Chicago) is currently on display in the Kerstein Gallery as part of the PAN exhibition.

William Strang (English, 1859–1921)
Selbstporträt/Self Portrait, 1895
Published in PAN II, Volume 3 (1896)
7 13/16″h x 5 3/4″w
Collection of Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Gift of Henry B. Caldwell, A1728,72.0305

Straightforward and focused, William Strang depicted himself without artifice, emphasizing his facial features instead of completing a whole composition. Note the artist’s subtle variations of shading on his hair, forehead, cheeks, mustache, and neck, which convey the partial illumination of his upper body. Gazing out intently with great immediacy at the viewer, Strang grasps a pencil or pen, pressing his instrument against a sketchbook and alluding to a key aspect of his creative expression, draftsmanship.

A renowned Scottish painter and engraver, Strang was born at Dumbarton, the son of a builder, and educated at the Dumbarton Academy. He worked for fifteen months in the counting-house of a shipbuilding company before going to London in 1875. There, Strang studied art at the Slade School for six years under Alphonse Legros (1837–1911), a major figure in the British etching revival. Strang became an assistant master in etching, a medium that brought him much success during his career. He was one of the founding members of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and his work was a part of their first exhibition in 1881.

This WeekendArt is sponsored by James & Melinda Marsden

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