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BryceDuncan

Mrs.Ferdinanda
ArtAppreciation
3December2015
MuseumPaper
Ichosetowriteabout
PortraitofMyFather
paintedbyStephenJ.Kaltenbachin
19721979.ThispiecewasdisplayedattheCrockerArtMuseuminSacramento.Gettingtothe
museumIwasreluctanttoviewtheartbecauseIwasthinkingthatthisisjustanotherassignment
thatneededtobedone.Aswestartedtowalkinitstartedchangingbecauseoftheartpiecesthat
couldbescenebyjustwalkingin.IultimatelygotreallyexcitedandfoundalotofpiecesIcould
writeabout,butIsawthisoneandgotreallyintrigued.IthinkIspentagoodfiveminutesofjust
staringatthistryingtofigureitout.
Thispieceofartwasactuallyprettysolitary.Mostotherpieceswerefeaturedonwalls
thathadquiteafewpaintingorartworkonthewalls.Mostpiecesaroundthispaintingwere
abstract.
PortraitofMyFather
wasveryillusionisticexceptithadapatternthatkindofhangout
inthebackground.Soitwasprettydifferentfromitsneighbors.WhenIfirstsawthisIthoughtit
wasaphotoofDumbledorefrom
HarryPotter
.Ireadtheplaqueandwasshockedtoseeitwas
actuallyaportraitofthepaintersdeadfather.Irealizedthatthepaintinghadalotmoremeaning
andIguessweighttothepainterandeventhevieweraftertheyknewthecontextofthepainting.
Thispaintingwasacryliconcanvas.Themediummakesthislooklikeanoldphotograph
fromfaraway,butwhenyoulookreallycloseyoucanseethatit'sapainting.Thewayitwas
paintedmakesitveryrelatablebecauseofhowrealitlooks.Thewayitwaspaintedgaveme

morerespectforartworkbecauseitshowedhowmuchherespectedhisfather.Headdedevery
littledetaillikethewhiskersonhisbeardtoeverylittlewrinklearoundhiseyes.
StephenKaltenbachmadethispaintingbothillusionisticandabstract.Themainpartis
veryillusionistic,butit'sveryupfrontandinyourfacemakingthespaceveryabstract.The
paintingalsohaslikealeaflatticethatislikealmosttransparentinnature.Thelatticecreatesa
patterntofollow.Itfeaturessomeveryboldcolorsoncertainparts,butothersareverydulland
drytolayemphasisonKaltenbachsfatherandhisfacialfeatures.Thepaintingisillusionistic
becausethemainsubjectisveryrealandlooksasthoughyoucouldtouchhim.Itsstyledirectly
tellsusthemeaningorsubjectofthepainting,butitalsoholdssomethingsbacksoyoucanfeel
whatitistryingtogetacross.ItssupposetorepresentKaltenbachsfatherandhispassagefrom
thislifetothenextstage.Itsatestamenttolife,love,andloss.Itdidntstartasarepresentation
ofgod,butasKaltenbachwaspaintinghewashavingdrugissuesandreallystrugglingwiththe
lossofhisfather.InaninterviewKaltenbachsaid,"AndIbegantofeelthatitwasapaintingof
mydadbutalsooftheHeavenlyFather.Idon'tsayyoucanpresentinimagessomethinglikethe
Almighty,buttherearemetaphors:thelightandarisingeffectofthepatternthatrepresentsthe
HeavenlyFather."
ThevisualvocabularyisprobablyoneofthebiggestreasonswhyIpickedthisimage.
Thelineshapeisverygeometric.Theshadowoverthefacecreatesalargetriangle,thenose
createsatriangle,andtheeyecreatesacircle.Thelinetextureisverysmooth,itssosmooththat
thepaintinglookslikeaphoto.Tomethelineseemsverticalbecausethispaintinglookstimeless
andstrong.IthinkKaltenbachwantedhisfathertoseemlikehewasthatbeautifulforeternity
andtocreatethatfeelingmostartistuseverticallines.Theoveralllightingisverylightandgives

thepaintingasenseofperfectionandgodliness.Thespaceisveryclosetotheviewerwhich
helpsitseemmorepersonalandinviting.Themainpaintingisactuallygrayscale,butthe
transparentpatterngivesitcolorandmakesitveryreal.Thelatticealsogivesitarhythmto
followbecauseitsmorenoticeableinsomeareaswhicheitherdrawsyoureyestowardsoraway
dependingonwhattheviewerisfocusingon.Thescaleofitisabout10x14.Itsmeanttobe
lookatfromafarandadmiredasawholeinsteadofupclose.Itsverythecharacterisntvery
symmetrical,butthepatterniswhichthenmakesitbothformalandinformal.Ithinkthepainter
wantedviewerstofeelthepowerandhowmuchhisfathermeanttohimsohemadeitformal,
butit'salsoveryinvitingandmakestheviewerrelaxbecauseofitsbeautywhichthenmakesit
informal.
Duetotakingthisclass,Iwasmoreappreciativeofthispiece.IfIhadnttakeArt
Appreciation,IwouldhavelookedatthispaintingandthoughitwasDumbledorefromHarry
Potter.Iprobablywouldhaveseenitandwalkedaway,butinsteadIsawitandjuststoodin
place.Idefinitelywasabletousetheinformationfromthisclasstofeelwhattheartistswas
tryingtoconvey.WhenIgothome,Iresearchedthepaintingandreadatleastthreeseparate
articlesortextsabout
PortraitofMyFather
.Readingaboutithelpedmeappreciateitevenmore
andgetfurtherknowledgeabouttheprocessofcreatingit.Thecanvasusedwasoriginallyfora
paintingofKaltenbachscat,Teddy.Hewassentapictureofhisfatherwithabeardwhichhe
hadneverseenbefore.Healsotalkedabouthowhegaveupdrugsandbecameachristianwhile
inthemiddleofthispainting.HebelievedthatGodhelpedhimgetoverthedrugsandinspired
thispiece.Theresearchdefinitelyinfluencedmyemotions.Ireallybegantounderstandthe
paintingandallthethingsitrepresented.IhadoriginallypickeditbecauseIthoughtitwas

reallycoolandunique,butIlaterrealizedafterresearchingit,Ichoseitbecauseit'srelatableand
carriesdeepermeaning.

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