Fuller Potter's Expressionist Period:
Disquieting portraits reflecting the lingering mood
of the Great Depression
Born in 1910, Fuller Potter did
experience the Great Depression,
particularly as he was painting in
Tennessee, in the isolated, poverty
stricken Appalachian Region. At the
same time, he apparently was
influenced by the Austrian Secession
and German Expressionism

During this period, he produced a
large number of portraits, which have a
similar disturbing quality as those of
Egon Schiele, or even, those of
Edward Munch. These portraits,
devoid of happiness, in a subtle way
convey distress and ambiguous
feelings, sometimes with a streak of
insanity, and reflect the sadness,
pensiveness, resentment, fear,
resignation, and altogether the
pervasive human misery of the times.
This was not the America that we
know, but a scary and depressed
world, that Fuller Potter obsessively,
relentlessly insisted to capture in paint,
without compromise nor flattery.

Most of these portraits, such as those
shown on this page, all unsigned,
untitled, and undated, as by pudor or
modesty, are now collector items. They
attracted few takers  at the yard sales.

Fuller Potter never lost interest in
portraits. Later in his life, he turned to
painting less loaded, more childlike,
frail and innocent faces, possibly
driven by the calm and serenity of
Alice, whom he painted extensively,
with a lot of love.

Through the eighties, Fuller kept very
much involved in the portrait genre,
this time with a multimedia twist. He
abundantly used the Polaroid camera
for multiple exposure, printing faces
simultaneously viewed from different
angles, and inserting them in a poetic
scene, as done by Picasso, but
obviously without Picasso's famous
face "cubistic" distortions and  
All pictures are Copyright Ovadia Salama and
may not be reproduced without our express
consent. For reproduction rights, including
any on the Internet, please contact us at our
Email address:
ovadia.salama@gmail.com, or
Several pictures are captured from Video
Tapes by Elaine Mills