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Double Portrait of the Artist in Time

1935 Helen Lundeberg Born: Chicago, Illinois 1908 Died: Los Angeles, California 1999 oil on fiberboard 47 3/4 x 40 in. (121.3 x 101.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1978.51 Not currently on view

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Double Portrait of the Artist in Time

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In Double Portrait, Helen Lundeberg incorporated different figures and objects to symbolize the stages of her life. The time on the clock represents the child’s age of two and a quarter, and the blank paper suggests her unknown future. She holds a flower bud to emphasize her undeveloped state, whereas the adult figure holds a blooming flower to show that she has experienced sex and love. Lundeberg connected the young girl to the grown woman with a shadow to suggest that the two parts of her life are “psychologically bridged.” The subdued tones and flat colors create a mysterious world where the shadow hovers like a ghost over the shoulders of both figures.


Allegory - life

Allegory - time

Architecture Interior - domestic - house

Object - flower

Object - furniture - clock

Occupation - art - painter

Occupation - art - printmaker

Portrait female - Lundeberg, Helen - child

Portrait female - Lundeberg, Helen - full length

Portrait female - Lundeberg, Helen - self-portrait


paint - oil

fiberboard - masonite