Kathleen Gilge (American, b. 1945)
Self-Portrait with Paintbrush after Bouguereau's The Assault, 2012
Oil on linen, 61 ¼ x 41 ½ inches
Courtesy of the artist
© Kathleen Gilje 2013

Kathleen Gilge (American, b. 1945)
Le Violon d'Ingres, Restored, 1999
Oil on linen, 58 1/2 x 39 3/8 in.
Collection of Richard and Eileen Ekstract
© Kathleen Gilje 2013

Revised and Restored: The Art of Kathleen Gilje

May 11, 2013 - September 8, 2013

A new exhibition offers an overview of Kathleen Gilje's satirically pointed and technically adroit reincarnations of famous Old Master and nineteenth-century paintings. Through these works she comments on social, political and art historical issues of our day, and often recasts leading lights of the world of art scholarship, criticism and collecting.

Click here for more exhibition images.

A trained restorer who began her career working on the great national collections at the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, Gilje brings a sophisticated understanding of the techniques and materials of the older art that she reconfigures, be it a “restored” version of a van Eyck, Raphael, Artemesia Gentileschi, Manet or Sargent.

She often comments on contemporary fashions and manners by inserting anachronistic details into images from the distant past. Here, too, are juxtapositions of contemporary and older art, always with a topical thrust, and satirical send ups of iconic images.

Revised and Restored: The Art of Kathleen Gilje from Bruce Museum on Vimeo.

We recognize individuals all selectively portrayed with painterly aplomb:

  • Artists Louise Bourgeois and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the guise of portraits by Dürer and Velázquez
  • Art historians Robert Rosenblum and Linda Nochlin as an Ingres and a Manet subject
  • The New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman as Eakins' Thinker
  • Even local residents appear among this pantheon, including the collector and president of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Jennifer Stockman, who is reincarnated as a Gustav Klimt figure.

Gilje’s work offers commentaries on current political, economic and women's rights issues, but sometimes in such subtle forms that the images can only be detected with X-rays. The effect in the aggregate is to render the art of the past at once more whimsically accessible and pertinent to modern times.

The exhibition is accompanied by a generously illustrated catalogue, including an interview with the artist.

A lecture series and family art appreciation program will also complement the show.

The New York Times reviews “playful reinterpretation” in The Art of Kathleen Gilje.

Witty exhibit re-envisions legendary works, says Hartford Courant.