Benjamin Walworth Arnold (1865-1932)

Fritz Winold Reiss (1886-1953)
Date: c. 1925
Medium: Pastel on paper
Dimensions: 23 1/8 H x 20 W
Credit: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Cogswell
Accession Number: 1985.17.2
Comments: Fritz Winold Reiss was trained in Munich—then a center for progressive activity—and immigrated to the US in 1913, bringing the new modern style with him. He became a pioneer of the Art Deco style and excelled as an interior designer. Today, however, he's best known for his remarkable portraits. Here, he combines the decorative impact of flat, modernist silhouettes with a seemingly incompatible detailed realistic rendering of his subject's facial characteristics. This portrait exhibits the sense of dignity common to all his portraits, which also included those of his daughters Katharine and Dorothy. Reiss's portrait of Benjamin Walworth Arnold shows the prosperous businessman with a meditative expression set against stylized forms in a Cubist style. The furrows in Arnold's forehead and the contracted veins on his temple, combined with his down-turned eyes and serious mouth, create an image of inward concentration and cerebral power.