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Thomas Schütte | New York

Portraits by Thomas Schutte image Portraits by Thomas Schutte image


Grace Building
1114 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10110

About Thomas Schütte

Thomas Schütte (b. 1954, Oldenburg, Germany) is among the most important contemporary artists of his generation.  He has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions, including at the Monnaie de Paris (2019); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2019); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016); Foundation Beyeler, Basel (2014); Serpentine Gallery, London (2012); Reina Sofa, Madrid (2010); and Dia Art Foundation, New York (1999.) In 2005, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, and in 2020/2021 he will be the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Schütte’s work is uncategorizable in a traditional sense, as he produces sculpture, drawing, prints, ceramics, and architecture across a vast range of materials and scales,  from small aluminum figures that are only a few centimeters tall to monumental steel, bronze and glass sculptures (such as the Model for a Hotel which he built in 2007 in London’s Trafalgar Square.)

With pathos and an ingenious sense of humor, Schütte often re-visits many of the motifs of classical sculpture, such as female nudes, standings figures, and monumental memorial statues.  The works chosen for display in the Grace Building are all portraits, and they exemplify his brilliant and diverse approaches to the human figure.


The prints on view in the Grace Building span the full range of Schütte’s graphic output from the 1990s to the present.  The earliest, Woche (Week), consists of seven self-portraits looking in a mirror, while the most recent depict four icons of American blues music, each in a different, soulful color: Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington, Mamie Smith, and Billie Holiday. The Frauen portray Schütte’s large sculptures of reclining women (the counterpoint to the Grösse Geister), while the Twelve Portraits are poignant depictions of women, ranging from friends of the artist (such as the gallery owner Gisela Capitain) to icons from art history (Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of Ginevra de’ Benci.). The wonderfully craggy faces of the Alte Freunde series – based on small clay sculptures which Schütte made in the early 1990s – evoke the nineteenth century caricatures of Honoré Daumier.


Alte Freunde, 2010

Suite of 10 line etchings with open bite

Each 31 x 20-1/2 inches


Frauen (B), 2006

Suite of 18 color etchings

Each 28 x 39-5/8 inches


Woche, 1999

Suite of 7 color lithographs

Each 24 x 18-1/2 inches


Twelve Portraits, 2014

Suite of 12 etchings in color

Each 28-8/8 x 20-13/16 inches