Monday, 20 May 2013

Vincent van Gogh self-portraits


Vincent van Gogh by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec 1887 pastel on cardboard 54 x 45 cm
This is another revised, updated and enlarged re-post from an earlier post on the self-portraits of Vincent van Gogh.

Van Gogh painted over 30 self-portraits between the years 1886 and 1889. His collection of self-portraits places him among the most prolific self-portraitists of all time. Van Gogh used portrait painting as a method of introspection, a method to make money and a method of developing his skills as an artist.

As Van Gogh struggled to make a living as an artist he became reliant on his brother Theo and the charity of others such as Julien "Père" Tanguy, who ran the paint store that Van Gogh frequented in Paris. With their generosity of money and supplies, Van Gogh continued working as an artist and thought of portrait painting as a practical application of his talent.

In a letter to his brother Theo in July of 1888 he wrote:
“Besides, I think I have spoken the truth, but if I should succeed in replacing in goods the money spent, I should only be doing my duty. And then, something practical I can do is portrait painting.”

In another letter to his brother Theo dated September 16, 1888, Van Gogh writes about a self-portrait he painted and dedicated to his friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin:
“The third picture this week is a portrait of myself, almost colourless, in ashen tones against a background of pale veronese green. I purposely bought a mirror good enough to enable me to work from my image in default of a model, because if I can manage to paint the colouring of my own head, which is not to be done without some difficulty, I shall likewise be able to paint the heads of other good souls, men and women.” (below)



1888 Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin oil on canvas 59.5 x 48.3 cm Arles, September 1888
In addition to Gauguin, Van Gogh also exchanged self-portraits with artist Émile Bernard. After receiving a letter from Bernard and Gauguin with their self-portraits enclosed, Van Gogh responded to Bernard encouraging portrait painting believing that portraits would always be in demand writing the following to Bernard:

“I strongly urge you to study portrait painting, do as many portraits as you can and don't flag. We must win the public over later on by means of the portrait; in my opinion it is the thing of the future.”

1886 Self-Portrait with Cap black chalk 20 x 11 cm Paris, Spring 1886

1886 Self-Portrait with Dark Felt Hat oil on canvas 41.5 x 32.5 cm Paris, Spring 1886

1886 Self-Portrait with Dark Felt Hat at the Easel oil on canvas 46.5 x 38.5 cm Paris, Spring 1886

1886 Self-Portrait with Pipe oil on canvas 46 x 38 cm Paris, Spring 1886

1886 Self-Portrait with Pipe oil on canvas 27 x 19 cm Paris, Spring 1886

1886 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 39.5 x 29.5 cm Paris, Autumn 1886

1886-7 Self Portrait with a Grey Felt Hat oil on cardboard 42 x 34 cm Paris, Winter 1886-7

1887 Two Self-Portraits pencil, pen & ink on paper 31 x 24 cm Paris January-June 1887

1887 Self-Portrait with Pipe and Glass oil on canvas 61 x 50 cm Paris early 1887

1887 Self-Portrait pencil 19 x 21 cm Paris, January-July 1887

1887 Self-Portrait in Grey Felt Hat oil on pasteboard 19 x 14 cm Paris, March-April 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on paper 32 x 23 cm Paris, Spring 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on pasteboard 19 x 14 cm Spring-Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on pasteboard 41 x 33 cm Paris, Spring-Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on cardboard 42 x 33.7 cm Paris, Spring 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 41 x 33.5 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait with Straw Hat and Pipe oil on canvas 41.5 x 31.5 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 42 x 34 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait with Straw Hat oil on canvas 41 x 31 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 42.5 x 31.5 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 41 x 33 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self Portrait with Straw Hat oil on panel 35.5 x 26.7 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait with Straw Hat oil on cardboard 40.5 x 32.5 cm Paris, Summer 1887

1887 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 47 x 35 cm Paris, Autumn 1887

1887 Self-Portrait with a Japanese Print oil on canvas 44 x 35 cm Paris, December 1887

1887-8 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 46.5 x 35.5 cm Paris, Winter 1887-8

1887-8 Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat oil on canvas 44 x 37.5 cm Paris, Winter 1887-8

1887-8 Self-Portrait with Straw Hat oil on canvas 40.6 x 31.8 cm Paris, Winter 1887-8

1887 Self-Portrait with Straw Hat oil on pasteboard 19 x 14 cm

1887-8 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 46 x 38 cm

1887-8 Self-Portrait with Felt Hat oil on canvas 44 x 37.5 cm

1888 Self Portrait as an Artist oil on canvas 65.5 x 50.5 cm Paris, early 1888

1888 Self-Portrait with Pipe and Straw Hat oil on canvas 42 x 30 cm Arles, August 1888

1888 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 46 x 39 cm Arles, November-December 1888

1889 Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear oil on canvas 60.5 x 50 cm Arles, January 1889

1889 Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear oil on canvas 51 x 45 cm Arles, January 1889

1889 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 40 x 31 cm Saint-Rémy, September 1889

1889 Self-Portrait with Palette oil on canvas 57 x 43.5 cm Saint-Rémy, August 1889

1889 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 65 x 54 cm Saint-Rémy September 1889 © Musée d'Orsay, dist.RMN / Patrice Schmidt

1889 Self-Portrait oil on canvas 51 x 45 cm Saint-Rémy September 1889

9 comments:

  1. Sharing.

    It's a lot of work you do on these posts, Poul! I appreciate it very much!

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  2. I agree. thanks so much for this. I will study them carefully.

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  3. What fantastic research. I never knew that there were so many self portraits. Your research is amazing.

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  4. Looking at them again, I wonder which he was most 'at peace' with.

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  5. Thank you all for your comments. Please know that they're much appreciated.

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  6. Thank you so much. So wonderful to see so many assembled chronologically.

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  8. If you comment, please do not use the opportunity to include spam, thank you.

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