THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
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Tomorrow (March 3), a new portrait of the Scottish-American philanthropist and industrialist, Andrew Carnegie, will be unveiled at the Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline, Scotland.
The portrait, painted by Calum Colvin, Professor of Fine Art Photography at the University of Dundee, is the first new portrait of Carnegie since Andy Warhol's famous work in 1981. Professor Colvin has brought his contemporary take on art to his portrait of Carnegie, populating the work with subjects relating to history and identity. In the portrait, you will notice motifs important to Carnegie's life and legacy, including his well known "Memo to Self" in which he pledged to give away his fortune, as well as a controversial telegram about the Homestead strike at his steel works. The embedded symbols are designed to invite debate and discussion about Carnegie and his life. In a nod to Carnegie's Transatlantic connections, the Royal Banner of Scotland is included in the portrait alongside the Stars and Stripes.
Professor Colvin was commissioned to create the work in 2019 as part of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of Carnegie's death. The process of creation drew on objects and references within collections held by the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, which tells Carnegie's story from the cottage of his birth to his living legacy today. Discussing the portrait, Kirke Kook, Curator and Manager of the Museum, said, "We were delighted to host Calum at the museum and to give our visitors an opportunity to engage with contemporary art in the context of a history museum. It is something that is quite unusual, but was really well-received!" As well as working at the museum in Dunfermline, further input was also provided by the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh in the US.
In addition to the portrait, a podcast (Calum Colvin in conversation with Carnegie biographer, Professor David Nasaw) is also available: https://soundcloud.com/carnegie_birthplace/tracks.
For more details on the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, check out www.carnegiebirthplace.com