Introspection

Photographs curator Jeff Rosenheim contemplates interiority in art.

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I can scan the subway car and know who is thinking about their emotional present tense, and who is distracted.

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  • Jeff Rosenheim
    1280852
  • Self-portrait  |  1979  |  Andy Warhol (American)  |  Instant color print  |  Purchase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Gift, Joyce and Robert Menschel Gift and Rogers Fund, 1995 (1995.251)  |  © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    7621024
  • [Subway Passenger, New York City: Man in Hat and Scarf on Times Square Shuttle]  |  1941  |  Walker Evans (American)  |  Film negative  |  Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.620.2)
    1280889
  • [Subway Passengers, New York City: Young Woman, Two Men]  |  January–March 1938  |  Walker Evans (American)  |  Film negative  |  Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.483.2)
    1280895
  • Sir John Herschel  |  April 1867  |  Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born India)  |  Albumen silver print from glass negative  |  Gilman Collection, Purchase, Robert Rosenkranz Gift, 2005 (2005.100.25)
    7891024
  • A Hypocrite and Slanderer  |  ca. 1770–83  |  Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Austrian)  |  Tin alloy  |  Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund; Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010 (2010.24)
    8101024
  • A Hypocrite and Slanderer  |  ca. 1770–83  |  Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Austrian)  |  Tin alloy  |  Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund; Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010 (2010.24)
    8681024
  • A Hypocrite and Slanderer  |  ca. 1770–83  |  Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Austrian)  |  Tin alloy  |  Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund; Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010 (2010.24)
    8501024
  • Nancy Wells, Danville, Virginia  |  1969  |  Emmet Gowin (American)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  Anonymous Gift, 2005 (2005.441.1)
    12801006
  • Untitled #87  |  1981  |  Cindy Sherman (American)  |  Chromogenic print  |  Purchase, Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Bequest, 1995 (1995.16)  |  © Cindy Sherman
    1280638
  • The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton  |  1900  |  Thomas Eakins (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1917 (17.172)
    5201024
  • Portrait bust of a man  |  1st century b.c.; Republican  |  Roman  |  Marble  |  Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.233)
    10321024
  • Marble portrait bust of a man  |  mid-1st century a.d., Julio-Claudian  |  Roman  |  Marble  |  Fletcher Fund, 1926 (26.60.3)
    8251024
  • Self-Portrait  |  1660  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    8561024
  • Self-Portrait  |  1660  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    11241024
  • Self-Portrait, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  |  1965  |  Lee Friedlander (American)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1972 (1972.506.3)
    1280836
  • Woman in a turban, N.Y.C.  |  1966  |  Diane Arbus (American)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  Purchase, Jennifer and Joseph Duke Gift, 2004 (2004.193)  |  © 1996 Estate of Diane Arbus LLC
    9741024
  • Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City  |  May 6, 1957  |  Richard Avedon (American)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  Gift of the artist, 2002 (2002.379.11)  |  © Richard Avedon
    10351024
  • Woman in White  |  1923  |  Pablo Picasso (Spanish)  |  Oil, water-based paint, and crayon on canvas  |  Rogers Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection (53.140.4)  |  © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    8251024
  • Portrait of the Artist  |  1878  |  Mary Cassatt (American)  |  Gouache on wove paper laid down to buff-colored wood-pulp paper  |  Bequest of Edith H. Proskauer, 1975 (1975.319.1)
    7091024
  • Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis)  |  1915  |  Käthe Kollwitz (German)  |  Lithograph  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1923 (23.103.5)
    7731024
  • Bust of an Old Man with a Flowing Beard: the Head Bowed Forward: Left Shoulder Unshaded  |  1630  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Etching  |  Gift of Walter C. Baker, 1962 (62.664.2)
    8591024
  • Self-Portrait  |  ca. 1855–56  |  Edgar Degas (French)  |  Oil on paper laid down on canvas  |  Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 (61.101.6)
    8541024
  • Jeff Rosenheim
    1280852
  • My name is Jeff Rosenheim. I'm a curator in the department of Photographs, and my topic is "Introspection."

  • Introspection is a reality that we all have to deal with. We suppress it and we allow it out.

  • I can scan the subway car, and know who is thinking about their emotional present tense

  • and who is distracted. Some people are more

  • expressive than others. I think we do this all the time in our public lives. It is about a management of one's exterior form and that's

  • what artists start with. The presence of the subject. I feel that there's this

  • factuality of expression that I am attracted to

  • of someone who has lived, or breathed, or been alive.

  • This little girl, she's having a reverie. Her arms are like snakes wrapping around these eggs and she's off in a beautiful space, but I can enter it based on the gesture, the tilt of the head, the closing of the eyes. The artist

  • has to let you in in some way, and when it happens, we can enter a space that's generally hidden to us as viewers.

  • Atkin's painting of Louis Kenton, it's called The Thinker. The hands in the pockets, the gesture, it is the modern dilemma that I feel every day.

  • Those Roman busts look within as much as they look out.

  • The artist has provided a glimpse of something that was extraordinarily alive and fresh.

  • When an artist makes a self-portrait, I think they are often trying to project something, and to reveal something to themselves at the same time.

  • He may be looking at himself in some sort of mirror to create the image, but he is definitely looking at himself when he finishes it.

  • Lee Friedlander went traveling around the country on his journey of exploration but the best pictures are these self-portraits made in hotel rooms, when he's done with his work out on the streets. He's back in the room, wiped out from his day, and all that's left is himself.

  • I think that the medium of photography has been always struggling to deal with more than surfaces.

  • Richard Avedon's picture of Marilyn Monroe, I mean she's the screen goddess that she is, but she is really, really vulnerable, and just as powerfully in control of her image. But we are seeing something of Marilyn, and something therefore of ourselves thinking about Marilyn, that is so much beyond what the pictures probably before and after achieved.

  • When the eyes in a work of art are so focused on something that you feel like the subject

  • is about a look at something, rather than a look within, I don't feel like I can engage in the same way, and I'm less charged with all the emotions that I feel, when I am present in this interaction.

  • The journey to the limits of direct observation is something that every artist has to deal with no matter what

  • medium they use. And that journey, and where you stop on the journey, kind of defines

  • who you are. And some artists are willing to go past the surface and to try to reveal something far deeper.

  • 1995.251
    Self-portrait, 1979, Andy Warhol (American), Instant color print Purchase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Gift, Joyce and Robert Menschel Gift and Rogers Fund, 1995 (1995.251) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • 1994.253.620.2
    [Subway Passenger, New York City: Man in Hat and Scarf on Times Square Shuttle], 1941, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.620.2)
  • 1994.253.483.2
    [Subway Passengers, New York City: Young Woman, Two Men], January–March 1938, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.483.2)
  • 2005.100.25
    Sir John Herschel, April 1867, Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born India), Albumen silver print from glass negative Gilman Collection, Purchase, Robert Rosenkranz Gift, 2005 (2005.100.25)
  • 2010.24
    A Hypocrite and Slanderer, ca. 1770–83, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Austrian), Tin alloy Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund; Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010 (2010.24)
  • 2005.441.1
    Nancy Wells, Danville, Virginia, 1969, Emmet Gowin (American), Gelatin silver print Anonymous Gift, 2005 (2005.441.1)
  • 1995.16
    Untitled #87, 1981, Cindy Sherman (American), Chromogenic print Purchase, Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Bequest, 1995 (1995.16) © Cindy Sherman
  • 17.172
    The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton, 1900, Thomas Eakins (American), Oil on canvas John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1917 (17.172)
  • 12.233
    Portrait bust of a man, 1st century b.c.; Republican, Roman, Marble Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.233)
  • 26.60.3
    Marble portrait bust of a man, mid-1st century a.d., Julio-Claudian, Roman, Marble Fletcher Fund, 1926 (26.60.3)
  • 14.40.618
    Self-Portrait, 1660, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
  • 1972.506.3
    Self-Portrait, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1965, Lee Friedlander (American), Gelatin silver print David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1972 (1972.506.3)
  • 2004.193
    Woman in a turban, N.Y.C., 1966, Diane Arbus (American), Gelatin silver print Purchase, Jennifer and Joseph Duke Gift, 2004 (2004.193) © 1996 Estate of Diane Arbus LLC
  • 2002.379.11
    Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City, May 6, 1957, Richard Avedon (American), Gelatin silver print Gift of the artist, 2002 (2002.379.11) © Richard Avedon
  • 53.140.4
    Woman in White, 1923, Pablo Picasso (Spanish), Oil, water-based paint, and crayon on canvas Rogers Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection (53.140.4) © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
  • 1975.319.1
    Portrait of the Artist, 1878, Mary Cassatt (American), Gouache on wove paper laid down to buff-colored wood-pulp paper Bequest of Edith H. Proskauer, 1975 (1975.319.1)
  • 23.103.5
    Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis), 1915, Käthe Kollwitz (German), Lithograph Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1923 (23.103.5)
  • 62.664.2
    Bust of an Old Man with a Flowing Beard: the Head Bowed Forward: Left Shoulder Unshaded, 1630, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Etching Gift of Walter C. Baker, 1962 (62.664.2)
  • 61.101.6
    Self-Portrait, ca. 1855–56, Edgar Degas (French), Oil on paper laid down on canvas Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 (61.101.6)
  • Self-portrait, 1979, Andy Warhol (American), Instant color print Purchase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Gift, Joyce and Robert Menschel Gift and Rogers Fund, 1995 (1995.251) © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    [Subway Passenger, New York City: Man in Hat and Scarf on Times Square Shuttle], 1941, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.620.2)
    [Subway Passengers, New York City: Young Woman, Two Men], January–March 1938, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.483.2)
    Sir John Herschel, April 1867, Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born India), Albumen silver print from glass negative Gilman Collection, Purchase, Robert Rosenkranz Gift, 2005 (2005.100.25)
    A Hypocrite and Slanderer, ca. 1770–83, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Austrian), Tin alloy Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund; Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010 (2010.24)
    Nancy Wells, Danville, Virginia, 1969, Emmet Gowin (American), Gelatin silver print Anonymous Gift, 2005 (2005.441.1)
    Untitled #87, 1981, Cindy Sherman (American), Chromogenic print Purchase, Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Bequest, 1995 (1995.16) © Cindy Sherman
    The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton, 1900, Thomas Eakins (American), Oil on canvas John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1917 (17.172)
    Portrait bust of a man, 1st century b.c.; Republican, Roman, Marble Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.233)
    Marble portrait bust of a man, mid-1st century a.d., Julio-Claudian, Roman, Marble Fletcher Fund, 1926 (26.60.3)
    Self-Portrait, 1660, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Oil on canvas Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    Self-Portrait, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1965, Lee Friedlander (American), Gelatin silver print David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1972 (1972.506.3)
    Woman in a turban, N.Y.C., 1966, Diane Arbus (American), Gelatin silver print Purchase, Jennifer and Joseph Duke Gift, 2004 (2004.193) © 1996 Estate of Diane Arbus LLC
    Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City, May 6, 1957, Richard Avedon (American), Gelatin silver print Gift of the artist, 2002 (2002.379.11) © Richard Avedon
    Woman in White, 1923, Pablo Picasso (Spanish), Oil, water-based paint, and crayon on canvas Rogers Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection (53.140.4) © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Portrait of the Artist, 1878, Mary Cassatt (American), Gouache on wove paper laid down to buff-colored wood-pulp paper Bequest of Edith H. Proskauer, 1975 (1975.319.1)
    Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis), 1915, Käthe Kollwitz (German), Lithograph Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1923 (23.103.5)
    Bust of an Old Man with a Flowing Beard: the Head Bowed Forward: Left Shoulder Unshaded, 1630, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Etching Gift of Walter C. Baker, 1962 (62.664.2)
    Self-Portrait, ca. 1855–56, Edgar Degas (French), Oil on paper laid down on canvas Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 (61.101.6)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Self-portrait
    1979
    Andy Warhol (American)
    Instant color print
    Purchase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Gift, Joyce and Robert Menschel Gift and Rogers Fund, 1995 (1995.251)
    © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    [Subway Passenger, New York City: Man in Hat and Scarf on Times Square Shuttle]
    1941
    Walker Evans (American)
    Film negative
    Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.620.2)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    [Subway Passengers, New York City: Young Woman, Two Men]
    January–March 1938
    Walker Evans (American)
    Film negative
    Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.253.483.2)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Sir John Herschel
    April 1867
    Julia Margaret Cameron (English, born India)
    Albumen silver print from glass negative
    Gilman Collection, Purchase, Robert Rosenkranz Gift, 2005 (2005.100.25)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    A Hypocrite and Slanderer
    ca. 1770–83
    Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (Austrian)
    Tin alloy
    Purchase, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Fund; Lila Acheson Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fisch, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Richardson Gifts, 2010 (2010.24)
    Not on view
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor
    Nancy Wells, Danville, Virginia
    1969
    Emmet Gowin (American)
    Gelatin silver print
    Anonymous Gift, 2005 (2005.441.1)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Untitled #87
    1981
    Cindy Sherman (American)
    Chromogenic print
    Purchase, Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Bequest, 1995 (1995.16)
    © Cindy Sherman
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    The Thinker: Portrait of Louis N. Kenton
    1900
    Thomas Eakins (American)
    Oil on canvas
    John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1917 (17.172)
    On view: Gallery 771
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Portrait bust of a man
    1st century b.c.; Republican
    Roman
    Marble
    Rogers Fund, 1912 (12.233)
    On view: Gallery 162
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Marble portrait bust of a man
    mid-1st century a.d., Julio-Claudian
    Roman
    Marble
    Fletcher Fund, 1926 (26.60.3)
    On view: Gallery 162
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Self-Portrait
    1660
    Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)
    Oil on canvas
    Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913 (14.40.618)
    On view: Gallery 634
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Self-Portrait, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1965
    Lee Friedlander (American)
    Gelatin silver print
    David Hunter McAlpin Fund, 1972 (1972.506.3)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Woman in a turban, N.Y.C.
    1966
    Diane Arbus (American)
    Gelatin silver print
    Purchase, Jennifer and Joseph Duke Gift, 2004 (2004.193)
    © 1996 Estate of Diane Arbus LLC
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Marilyn Monroe, Actress, New York City
    May 6, 1957
    Richard Avedon (American)
    Gelatin silver print
    Gift of the artist, 2002 (2002.379.11) © Richard Avedon
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Woman in White
    1923
    Pablo Picasso (Spanish)
    Oil, water-based paint, and crayon on canvas
    Rogers Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection (53.140.4)
    © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
    On view: Gallery 830
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Portrait of the Artist
    1878
    Mary Cassatt (American)
    Gouache on wove paper laid down to buff-colored wood-pulp paper
    Bequest of Edith H. Proskauer, 1975 (1975.319.1)
    Not on view
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Self-Portrait (Selbstbildnis)
    1915
    Käthe Kollwitz (German)
    Lithograph
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1923 (23.103.5)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Bust of an Old Man with a Flowing Beard: the Head Bowed Forward: Left Shoulder Unshaded
    1630
    Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)
    Etching
    Gift of Walter C. Baker, 1962 (62.664.2)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Self-Portrait
    ca. 1855–56
    Edgar Degas (French)
    Oil on paper laid down on canvas
    Bequest of Stephen C. Clark, 1960 (61.101.6)
    On view: Gallery 815
    European PaintingsSecond Floor

    © 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art