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Elementary: Portrait of Emy by Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (Art Card)

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff (German, 1884 to 1976), Portrait of Emy, 1919, oil on canvas

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About the Artist

Karl Schmidt-Rottluff was a German painter who worked in the 20th century. He belonged to a group of artists called expressionists. They were interested in creating art that expressed and evoked feelings rather than realistic appearances.


About the Art

In Portrait of Emy, the artist used simplified shapes and lines to depict the face and body of his wife instead of trying to make the painting look like a photograph. He used color to connect to feelings and emotions.


Look Closely

  • What do you notice first when you look at the portrait? Why? How does the artist draw your attention here?
  • What colors do you see? Which colors are warm and which are cool? Why?



  • The artist was interested in the power of colors to show emotions and feelings. Name some emotions. What colors do you associate with those emotions? What emotions do you think the artist was trying to represent in this painting?
  • This is a portrait of the artist’s wife. What do you think you know about her based on the painting? Why? Who do you think we learn more about in this picture, the artist or his wife? Why?



Think of someone important to you. How would you use color to create an expressionist portrait of them like Karl Schimdt-Rottluff did in Portrait of Emy?


Learn More

Visit the “Learn More” sidebar to find more information about the work of art and artist and find other works of art that relate to the subject matter, media, and techniques used by the artist.