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For Father-and-Daughter Artists Francesco and Chiara Clemente, Portraiture Is the Family Business

Portrait of Francesco and Chiara Clemente.
Photography by Jeremy Liebman. 

For painter Francesco Clemente and his daughter, documentary filmmaker Chiara Clemente, intimate portraits have always been a central part of art-making. But how has the pair’s relationship influenced their identities and individual practices? Francesco’s nearly surrealist watercolors and oils present strange characters and dream-like scenes laden with symbolism. He is also known for his stylized portraits of fellow artists, a theme that is the central focus of Chiara’s practice. Her films, which she likewise refers to as “portraits,” are poetic narratives grounded in an equally strong aesthetic sensibility. The father and daughter’s close bond has resulted in a shared ethos—a kindred approach to looking at people and the worlds that they inhabit.