Walter Jungblut, Self-Portrait

Walter Jungblut, Self-Portrait

How does it feel when your father and brother are successful artists but you’re still seeking recognition? When those around you are working in a traditional style, yet you’re drawn towards something unusual?

Walter Jungblut (1892-1941) was the son of the highly regarded landscape painter, Johann Jungblut (1860-1912), who is known for his fine extensive landscapes. While his brother Emil Jungblut (1888-1955) studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and produced a range of remarkable sculptures. Yet, despite this, it seems that Walter preferred to work against the grain and paint with gesture and expression - even though this led to very limited exposure during his lifetime.

In this self-portrait from around 1930, what do you see? How do you feel about the brushwork and energy? For us, we see anguish, a degree of suffering, yet also pride.

Is the narrative a direct consequence of his life as an outsider?

It’s also interesting that this self-portrait has been painted over another work, which is still visible around the edges. Did he angrily lay down the oils - unhappy with the previous piece - and paint through a haze of frustration?

Walter Jungblut’s story raises more questions than answers as there’s so little information available. He was an enigmatic character with an interesting background - and this portrait speaks volumes.

The painting is signed in the lower right.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 21” x 29” / 54cm x 74cm
Year of creation: c. 1930
Provenance: Germany
Condition: Craquelure throughout but it seems to add to the sense of drama. A few minor paint losses but the paint seems broadly stable.