1969 - 1981
Hedda Sterne often thought of portraiture as separate from the rest of her body of work. But by the late 1960s, Sterne’s automatic drawings began to reflect her long-standing interest in the face and figure. Though primarily recognized for her abstractions, Sterne embraced this new turn, creating drawings and paintings of faces, figures and crowds. Particularly fascinated by the symbolic potential of a few lines and shapes, she created a large-scale installation of anonymous painted faces titled Everyone.
“When I do these faces the way I do, to me it’s like using the most simple, easily understandable language there is.”
Hedda Sterne, Portrait of an American Indian, c. 1969, Rapidograph ink on paper, 14 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.
Hedda Sterne, Everyone, 1969-70, Installation consisting of multiple unstretched canvases painted with acrylic; Photograph by Duane Michals
Hedda Sterne, Portrait of Henrietta Franklin, 1969, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 54 in.; Collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, The Joseph H. Hirshhorn Bequest, 1981, 86.4510
Hedda Sterne, Signs III, 1981, Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 60 in. x 40 in., Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Gift of Alexandra A. Herzan in memory of Lily Auchincloss, 44.1997