A Man With Alzheimer's Drew Himself For 5 Years, And The Photos Are Heartbreaking

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In 1995 at age 61, William Utermohlen, an American artist living in London, received a devastating diagnosis. He had Alzheimer’s. In response to his illness (or perhaps to spite it) he began to paint self-portraits. They were his way of trying to understand his condition, and for people to see how it progresses.

 

Utermohlen painted regular portraits of himself during those first years of his diagnosis until he was admitted to a nursing home in 2000. What we see is a man struggling to remain in touch with the world around him. Utermohlen passed away back in 2007, but his self portraits have lived on as a way for us to understand Alzheimer’s.

A self portrait of William Utermohlen from 1961

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1996

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1996

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1997

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1997

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1998

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1999

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2000

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All of the self-portraits rogether

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Before the diagnosis Utermohlen worked as a successful artist. You can view his website here.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible, confusing disease. What William was able to achieve is extremely insightful and moving.
Please share this with family & friends.

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