Neue Galerie’s Richard Gerstl Retrospective Showcases a Life Cut Short

Self-Portrait, Laughing , 1907. Oil on canvas. Neue Galerie and Belvedere, Vienna Self-Portrait, Laughing , 1907. Oil on canvas. Neue Galerie and Belvedere, Vienna Richard Gerstl (1883-1908), a prodigy from a rich Austrian family, took his own life at the age of 25 more than a century ago. Prolific for his young age, he often painted landscapes and the people around him. But most of all, he painted himself. There are 10 self-portraits in Gerstl’s first exhibition in the United States, which runs at the Neue Galerie through September 25. The gaunt face on the catalog’s cover, Self Portrait, Laughing , painted when Gerstl was 23, shows him with his mouth agape, as a light that seems to come from a fire illuminates from below. His hair is cropped short, like a convict’s. The light brown flecks on the abstract background could be the scratched wall of a prison […]