Early Self Portraits

Late Self Portraits

Late Self Portrait Drawings

This text is exerpted from Pat Utermohlen's 2006 essay on Bill's work.

William was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995 and was immediately put on to a new drug which had to be monitored. We regularly attended the neurological hospital in Queen’s Square where we were fortunate to find in nurse Ron Isaacs, who regularly assessed him, a sympathetic listener. William, bravely began to paint himself, desperately trying to understand what was happening to his mind. As the pictures progressed he showed them to Nurse Isaacs and  other members of the group who were attending him, all of whom were part of Dr Rossor’s team. They found them clinically interesting and they asked permission to create a paper for the ‘Lancet’. In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness. The great talent remains, but the method changes. He sometimes uses water-colour and paints a series of masks, perhaps because he could more quickly express his fear. In both the oils and water-colours these marvellous self portraits express his desperate attempt to understand his condition. There is a new freedom of expression, the paint is applied more thickly, art-historically speaking the artist seems less linear and classical, more expressionist, and I see ghosts of his German heritage. William is still alive, but can no longer draw and seems to have withdrawn into a solitary and private world, sometimes making sounds which I imagine for him is talking, and very occasionally, I believe he recognises me.

To see the self-portraits you can scroll down this page or to see the slideshow click here.

 self portrait with mug

Self-Portrait with Mug

William Utermohlen

oil on canvas

 

utermohlen 1990 self portrait small oil on board 180x145mm col bertin paris

Self-Portrait

William Utermohlen, 1990

oil on board, 18 x 15 cm  

 

Blue Skies

William Utermohlen, 1995

oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm

 

 

In the Studio (Self-Portrait)

William Utermohlen, 1996

mixed media on paper, 45.5 x 32.5 cm

 

 

Self Portrait (Red)

William Utermohlen, 1996

mixed media on paper, 46.5 x 33 cm

Collection Poilleux, Paris

 

Self Portrait with Easel

William Utermohlen, 1996

oil on canvas, 46 x 35 cm

 

 

Self Portrait with Saw

William Utermohlen, 1997

oil on canvas, 35.5 x  35.5

Collection Boïcos, Paris

 

 

Self Portrait (Yellow)

William Utermohlen, 1997

oil on canvas, 35.5 x 35.5