The remarkable changes in the work of the artist William Utermohlen
as he succumbed to Alzheimer's disease are being featured in new
advertising for the charity which helps its victims.
Atlas, the Cordiant group subsidiary, produced the new cinema commercial
for the Alzheimer's Society to coincide with the opening of Richard
Eyre's film, Iris, about the novelist Iris Murdoch, who was also a
Even though Alzheimer's was first diagnosed in 1901, its exact cause
remains a mystery. It is the most common form of dementia, affecting
about 500,000 people in the UK and 20 million worldwide.
Utermohlen was diagnosed in 1997. He continued to paint self-portraits
until last year when he became so weak he could no longer hold a
His portraits produced during that time have been acclaimed as some of
the most powerful of his career and a dramatic depiction of the inner
chaos caused by degenerative brain disease.
The ad shows a sequence of Utermohlen's work as a voiceover asks: "Has
this artist chosen to change his style, to paint darker pictures?" It
then answers: "No, he hasn't changed his mind. His mind has changed
The work was written by Andy Imrie, art directed by Gary Smith and
directed by Patricia Murphy of Patricia Murphy Productions. Media is
being bought by Equinox.