Frank Schroder is an artist who has been collecting found and anonymous painted portraits of women for over 10 years, from 1986 to 1996. They had been discovered and recovered in second hand stores, painting bins, and low end auctions. The paintings collected originate from Western Europe and The United States, and date from the turn of the century to the late 1950's. In his use of found portraits as raw material, he incorporates a narrative assembled in the works from other artists.
The work's conceptual underpinnings raise questions about the nature of creativity, originality and authorship in the first half the 20th century. It also suggests that the act of collaborating, selecting, and arranging work by other artists is as much a form of art making as painting a portrait itself. The collection invokes a sociopolitical subtext which is intended to undermine the hierarchies of modernist art and it's traditional institutional formats. In his use of found paintings as raw material, we are reminded of the post modernist tradition of appropriation and the readymade, which challenged the modernist myth of artist's works being absolutely original.
This collective is an emotional collaboration as well as an intellectual fulfillment of human inheritance. This humanism centers on an intuitive memory of possession and obsession, reflecting a narrative of the anonymous, and undiscovered through nostalgia and salvation. It encapsulates an unorthodox and often marginalized part of art history, a special history which makes an unsettling linearity of the narrative of collecting.