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Bettina Sellmann

Armor & Etiquette

October 12 - November 13, 2004

Opening Reception: Friday, October 15, 6 - 8 pm



Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present Armor & Etiquette, Bettina Sellmann’s first solo exhibition in New York.


Bettina Sellmann’s monumental graphite drawings and watercolor on canvas paintings are a fusion of personal family photographs and Baroque portraiture. Her works depict people in elaborate period clothing, striking poses that follow the canon of social rules and etiquette of representation of that time. Men in armor have a rigorous air to them, women wear garments which restrict their mobility, and children are dressed and behave as little adults.


Sellmann’s characters are primarily rendered in solitude and hardly touch each other or their surroundings. The emphasis on external splendor, pomp, and beauty is met by a state of physical and psychological isolation. Sellmann utilizes formal transparency to further expose her subjects. Her see-through portraits are created with thin veil-like layers of pigment. Using water, rags, hands, erasers, and brushes, she creates alienated ghostlike apparitions that melt and vanish under scrutiny.


Born in Munich, Germany, Bettina Sellmann received a Master degree from Staedelschule Frankfurt am Main and an MFA from Hunter College in New York. She lives and works in Brooklyn. 


Derek Eller Gallery is located at 526 West 25th Street, 2nd floor. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 11am - 6pm.  For further information or visuals, please contact the gallery at 212.206.6411 or visit