Jeremy Lewison has written the principal essay in the catalogue for the exhibition that took at the Royal Academy in 2019 and that continues on to the Ateneum - Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki in 2019-20. His essay, titled ‘The Mask and the Mirror’ looks at the development of Schjerfbeck’s work from student days in Paris to her final year in Sweden, identifying sources and looking at the impact of the Rococo revival and Japonism as well as the art of Goya, Daumier and others. In examining her approach he identifes her desire to mask emotion in her effort to convey introspection, while also indicating a strong sense of irony that permeates her late self-portraits. Lewison also contributed all the introductions to the catalogue sections.
Two further essays are included in the catalogue, an introduction by Anna-Maria von Bonsdorf, chief curator at the Ateneum, and an essay on Schjerfbeck’s stay in St Ives by Desiree de Chair.
More than 6,400 copies of the catalogue have been sold to date and the catalogue reached no 6 in the top 20 art book sales.