For Whom the Bell Tolls


Marlene Dumas ( South African, 1953 )

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General Description

The subtle pathos, fluid brushwork, and fleshy tones that vary between extreme saturation and a special softness give this painting its startling character. The source was a poignant and recognizable image of movie star Ingrid Bergman made for the 1943 film For Whom the Bell Tolls. In this portrait, Marlene Dumas, who often uses iconic images of 20th-century Western culture, explores the relationship between the documentary impulse of photography and the expressive potential of painting.

Adapted from

Charles Wylie, DMA unpublished material, 2009.