Elmer Novotny

(Cleveland, Ohio, 1909 - 1997, Walnut Creek, California)

Citizen of Onsted

1939

Casein on fiberboard

25 1/4 x 22 in. (64.3 x 55.9 cm)

Collection of the Akron Art Museum

Gift of the artist in memory of Mrs. Janet Schulman

1962.74

More Information

Novotny, who taught art at Kent State University for nearly 40 years, embraced portrait painting traditions that call for the illumination of a sitter’s character or personality. This figure’s weathered face, beefy hand and simple work shirt suggest a man of industry, conviction and integrity. Posed in profile, the man is also reminiscent of Renaissance-era portraits in which the sitter is shown from the side to lend a sense of dignity or nobility. Novotny painted the mill in the background of this image while visiting the lumber town of Onsted, Michigan, but added the figure in his Ohio studio.

Marks

Recto: LL: "1939", "E. Ladislaw Novotny"

Keywords
Realism
Rural
Great Depression
American
Laborer
Male