Roland Schauls: The Portrait Society
Small Hall of Veletržní Palace
Curator: Lucie Šiklová
Between 1995 and 1998, Luxembourg painter Roland Schauls set himself a highly unusual task for an extraordinary project. Selected from the world’s largest and most important self portrait collection at the Ufizzi in Florence, 504 of them provided the foundation for creating a large-scale memorial to the history of occidental painting.
In the vastness of the 100 square meters of the installation, highly esteemed painters like
Dürer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Velasquez or Delacroix appear no more, no less than their predecessors, companions and successors who are nearly forgotten today. Through the uniform installation of 504 individual paintings, fame and failure become a relative quantity.
Roland Schauls tableau about equality of opportunity reads like a huge dedication to his own guild, a kind of monument to the many that have become nameless today, a tribute that exposes and counteracts the historic and contemporary strategies of intentional exclusion to the world of art and academia.
Each portrait represents an artist who was well regarded and appreciated as a painter in his time with a life’s work of merit consisting of more than 300 works.
Roland Schauls’ idea is to credit the life and work of those forgotten artists and to establish an association of potential owners to promote the legacy of the portrayed artists with the intention that the 504 paintings remain as a unit.
The purchase of one of these works will make you a member of ‘The Portrait Society’ and a partner of a community promoting the arts and cultural history of the painting. Parallel to the community of artists, a community of owners promoting the work is established. The objective is to regularly inform both the members of ‘The Portrait Society’ and the public of upcoming symposia as well as publications and finally to provide funding for scholarships enabling student research on the subject.