Gerhard Richter is one of the most important painter of contemporary art. His portraiture takes its source and transfers it to an abstract and ethereal world. Richter has always displayed the importance of the subjects of his paintings, maintaining that he simply chooses amateur photographs that allow him to concentrate on the act of painting appearances.
Marlene Dumas (born 1953) is a South African born artist who lives and works in Amsterdam. Dumas tends to paint her subjects at the extreme fringes of life’s cycle, from birth to death. By working within and also transgressing these traditional historical antecedents, Dumas uses the human figure as a means to critique contemporary ideas of racial, sexual, and social identity.
Lucian Freud (born 1922) is a British painter of German origin. Freud's early paintings are often associated with surrealism and depict people, plants and animals in unusual juxtapositions...these works were usually painted with relatively thin paint, but from the 1950s he began to paint portraits, often nudes, to the almost complete exclusion of everything else, employing a thicker impasto. Freud's portraits often depict only the sitter, sometimes sprawled naked on the floor or on a bed or alternatively juxtaposed with something else. The use of animals in his compositions is widespread, and often features pet and owner. Freud's subjects are often the people in his life; friends, family, fellow painters, lovers, children...
"The subject matter is autobiographical, it's all to do with hope and memory and sensuality and involvement, really."
Charles Thomas "Chuck" Close (born 1940) is an American painter and photographer who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits. A catastrophic spinal artery collapse in 1988 left him severely paralyzed, but he has continued to paint and produce work that remains sought after by museums and collectors.
Gottfried Helnwein (born 1948 in Vienna) is an Austrian-Irish fine artist, painter, photographer, installation and performance artist. His early work consists mainly of hyper-realistic portraits, depicting wounded children, as well as performances - often with children - in public spaces. Helnwein is concerned primarily with psychological and sociological anxiety, historical issues and political topics. As a result of this, his work is often considered provocative and controversial.
John Currin was born in 1962 and currently lives and works in New York. His personages are caricatured men and women whose over-large eyes and sentimental expressions suggest the world of the cartoon. Women with balloon-like breasts and slender bearded men act out the traditional fantasies of the white American male as expressed in the kitsch culture of pornography, advertising and magazine photographs. The sickliness of these images contrasts with the emptiness of the personalities portrayed. Currin has turned to the mood atmosphere of Flemish and Renaissance paintings as the vehicle for his exploration of the foundation of cultural cliches and the desires behind them.
Lisa Yuskavage has emerged from the '90s as one of the most important figurative artists and one of the first bad-girl artist. There is nothing accidental or spontaneous in her final product. Her women are endowed with the attributes of sexual allure and their huge breasts seem to be a heavy burden. Yuskavage paints the shallow, the vulgar, the heedless as if it were profound, elegant, meditative of a world that can be defined lightly pornographic, indicated by a series of elements that contribute in creating a feeling of transcendence.
Paula Rego's powerful figurative works often convey an intense psychological drama. One of today's leading figurative artists, Rego was born in Portugal and studied fine arts in London. She took up permanent residence in England in 1976.
Elizabeth Peyton (born 1965) is an American painter best known for stylized and idealized portraits of her close friends and boyfriends, pop celebrities, and European monarchy. Peyton lives and works in New York.
Karen Kilimnik (born 1955) paints in loose brushwork and bold colors pastiches of the Old Masters and portraits of celebrities.
Kris Lewis (born 1978) is an American realist artist of Latvian heritage.
Jonathan Viner (born in 1976) is an American artist and illustrator living and working in New York.
Christine Aerfeldt was born in Australia, currently she is based in Montpellier, France.
Lita Cabellut spent the first 13 years of her life as an orphan on the streets of Barcelona. She had her first show at 17 and studied fine arts in Amsterdam.