Lot 11
  • 11

Emerson Burkhart

18,000 - 25,000 USD
28,125 USD
bidding is closed


  • Emerson Burkhart
  • The Animal Nature in Man
  • signed Emerson C. Burkhart (lower left); inscribed Jan. 27, '47 (on the reverse)
  • oil on canvas


Gift from the artist to the present owner, 1969


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, One Hundred and Forty-Fourth Annual Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, January - February, 1949


Michael D. Hall, Emerson Burkhart: An Ohio Painter's Song of Himself, London, 2009, illustrated p. 153

Catalogue Note

Emerson Burkhart came into his artistic maturity during the 1940s as a portrait painter and chronicler of the evolving urban and rural wrolds around his studio in Columbus, Ohio.  He chose to distance himself from most of the progressive artistic movements of his time, refusing to aligh with any of the mainstream styles that defined modern American art.

Burkhart's The Animal Nature in Man is one of more than two-hundred self-portraits he painted.  As Michael Hall writes, "when asked why he painted himself so often, Burkhart once responded, 'It's cheaper than hiring a model, and it's reliable.  It's always there when I want it.'...In what seems to have been an ongoing acknowledgment of [his admiration of Rembrandt], he created a wealth of self-portraits chronicling an array of human dispositions and vanities.  The scowling, smiling, grimacing and leering images of self that Burkhart painted over the course of his career constitute an archive of nature studies from someone endlessly fascinated with, and perplexed by, his own existence." (Hall, op. cit., p. 145)