Artist Emmy Bridgwater: Necessary Bandages, circa 1942

Artist Emmy Bridgwater (1906 - 1999): Necessary Bandages, circa 1942

 Institutional collection

Emmy Bridgwater (1906 - 1999):
Necessary Bandages, circa 1942
Framed (ref: 9972)

Oil on board


35 x 29 cm

See all works by Emmy Bridgwater oil Surrealists women Fifty Works by Fifty British Women Artists 1900 - 1950

Provenance: The Sherwin Family

Generally: Expression of agony. Betrayal by a lover. An archetypal theme.

Specifically: Close-up self-portrait of Emmy Bridgewater at age thirty-six, recently abandoned for another woman by Toni del Renzio the reptilian creature on the right.

Historical Context: The dismal English wartime year of 1942. The world of Guernica both the painting and the terror bombing.

Cultural Context: Post the deployment of agony as propaganda in Western art, that escalation from the Laocoon and the Dying Gaul to Goya and Otto Dix. This portrait inaugurates the outing of personal pain after Munchs histrionic cartoon and toward Bacons smouldering within.

Commentary: The conception is simply brutal, because it is brutally simple. Raw spatulas of paint bandaged across a battered face. Only the eyes remain, one in pain and the other in bewilderment. Never does the formalism of Picassos disparate eyes so disclose the soul within. Only a woman, and a courageous one, would expose such vulnerability to the public gaze. It is a deeply feminine achievement.

Commentary by Andres Duany. Duany, a founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, is a Cuban-American architect living in Miami, USA and Uzes, France.