Self Portrait with Model by Christian Schad (1927)

Self Portrait with Model by Christian Schad (1927)

Today’s work for My Daily Art Display is the first twentieth century painting I have showcased.  It is a painting by the German artist, Christian Schad.  He was born in 1894 in Miesbach a small town in Upper Bavaria, thirty miles south of Munich, a city, in which at twenty years of age Schad attended at the art academy.  At the onset of the First World War, he, being a pacifist, managed to simulate a heart problem in order to avoid military service. Furnished with a medical certificate so as to avoid military duties, he fled to Switzerland settling down for a time in Zurich and later in Geneva.  Zurich was the city in which the Dada movement started in 1916.   The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature – poetry, art manifestoes, art theory – theatre and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. Its purpose was to ridicule what its participants considered to be the meaninglessness of the modern world. In addition to being anti-war, Dada was also anti-bourgeois and anarchistic in nature.  Schad found the aims of this movement to be similar to his own personal views and soon became a Dadaist.  After the war he left Switzerland and travelled to Italy where he resided until 1925.  In 1927 he and his Italian wife Marcella and three year old son Niklaus moved to Vienna but a year later, having separated from his wife, Schad returned to his homeland, settling in Berlin.  His paintings of the late 1920’s are closely associated with the New Objectivity art movement which arose in the early 20’s but ended with the rise of Nazi power.

Self Portrait with Model, an oil on wood work, was painted by Christian Schad in 1927 and is currently to be seen at the Tate Modern, on loan from a private collector.  A narcissus, indicating vanity, leans towards the artist. The woman’s face is scarred with a freggio, inflicted on Neapolitan women by their lovers to make them unattractive to others. It is a startling emblem of the potential violence underlying male possession of the female body.

This is considered to be one of his Schad’s masterpieces.

 Schad died aged 87 in Stuttgart.