This multicultural exhibition is a work in progress, but we couldn’t keep it to ourselves! Enjoy this preview; linger as you would in an in-person gallery, and come back after the complete exhibition goes live. Tell us what you think – we welcome your comments below.
Countless paintings and drawings of siblings, young and old, take the form of traditional, forward-looking portraits, often by commission, or in more recent decades, images of the backs of siblings walking down a path or sitting in a park.
In our gallery, works were selected for their artistic merit, but also for illustrating something meaningful about this unique relationship. At times the gestures or glances may seem innocuous, yet they were important enough for the artists to represent and believe in, possibly opening up pathways to greater insight into the human condition. Many of these works of art are cited as personal favorites by reviewers. Which are your favorites?
Sofonisba Anguissola, Three Siblings of the Gaddi Family with Dog, c. 1555-1560. Italy.
Ralph Earl, Portrait of Two Brothers. ca. 1790. USA.
Thomas Couture, Two Sisters. 1792. France.
Anonymous, Siblings Balarama and Krishna. 1800s. India.
Katsushika Hokusai, Five Sibling Pictures of China and Japan for the Zakurogaki Group. 1821-2. Japan.
Abbott Handerson Thayer, Brother and Sister (Mary and Gerald Thayer). 1889. USA.
Pablo Picasso, Two Sisters (The Meeting). 1902. Spain.
Erich Heckel, Siblings (Geschwister). 1913. Germany.
Helene Schjerfbeck, Siblings. 1881 & 1913. Finland.
One of Finland’s most beloved artists, Schjerfbeck illustrates siblings, from a charming scene in an academic realist style, to the intimacy conveyed in her more abstract work inspired by French Modernism. “I’ve preferred to paint poor sensitive children, I don’t know if anyone’s interested.” (Letter to Einar Reuter, 8 January 1918)
Henri Matisse, Three Sisters with an African Sculpture. 1917. France.
Paul Klee, Brother and Sister. 1930. Germany via Switzerland.
Shirley Charlton, No More Tears Brother. 2009. Malawi.
Look at those faces! The offer of gentle kindness, touched by subtle inquisitiveness, to a brother deep in his feelings. Highlighted by lights and darks, such intimacy is rarely seen in art. From the artist’s Malawi period. View Charlton’s other paintings at shirleycharlton.com.
Miabo Enyadike, Sibling Rivalry. 2020. South Africa.
Artist Statement: “Siblings, some of us have some don’t, some siblings bring us great joy, while some bring us much sorrow. My painting is one of rivalry between two siblings, where one overshadows the other and that creates a lot of emotional despair.” Represented with high intensity color. For sale on Saatachi Art.