Richard Ansett

Marie Louise with Toys, Triptych edition@ Richard Ansett

Photographer’s Sketchbooks/Thames & Hudson 2014


In 1992 there was a major retrospective of Otto Dix in London. At the exhibition were two portraits of his daughter ‘Nelly mit Blumen’ and ‘Nelly mit Spielzeug’.

I set out to find a contemporary model in life that could bear some resemblance to the original paintings. 7 years later I found a child sitting on the front steps of a restaurant in London whom immediately resonated with the spirit of the original works.

It transpired that the girl called Marie Louise had spent her whole life up to that point in hospital. She had been born with a brain tumor, tested, examined and treated by doctors and had missed out on many of a child’s normal experiences.

These images as a record, show the first time she had ever been able to grow her hair. Her temperament was well suited to posing for the camera; she was very used to being directed by doctors. I don’t remember her ever speaking or laughing during the whole time we were together.

Marie Louise with Flowers, Triptych edition @ Richard Ansett