In 1995 at age 61, William Utermohlen, an American artist living in London, received a devastating diagnosis. He had Alzheimer’s. In response to his illness (or perhaps to spite it) he began to paint self-portraits. They became a way for him to try to understand his condition.
Until he was admitted to a nursing home in 2000, Utermohlen painted regular portraits of himself during those first years of his diagnosis. What we see is a man struggling to remain in touch with the world around him. Utermohlen passed away in 2007, but his self portraits have lived on as a way for us to understand the devastation of Alzheimer’s.
A self-portrait of William Utermohlen from 1961.