Bajazzo, 1963. Black ink on paper, 24 x 17 in. (61 x 43 cm). Signed and dated on lower right, “Ascher 63”. Private collection. Photo Malcolm Varon ©Bianca Stock

Bajazzo, 1963

Again the image of the clown—and again an image not of a happy being? Compare this image to the Bajazzo painting from 1924/1945 (#5 above) and ask, aside from the difference between a three-quarter figure and just a head, how the two images are similar and dissimilar. How is this a function of the difference in medium—black ink on paper vs oil on canvas—and how might it be a function of time period, the circumstances and the age of the artist? Both differences and non-differences! (What has not changed?) Discuss how the artist does or does not identify with this face that is theoretically not his own at all? Compare the image to the Self-Portrait of 1953 (#6 above) and (if possible) the Sufferer (Self-Portrait) of 1958. And, by the way, think back to and compare all of these with the first image in this selection, Lone Man (#1 above), and ask again whether the artist always identifies with his characters, given the supposedly joyful, social figure that Ascher cut in those early days—which has changed emphatically by the time of these images.