Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Paris, summer 1887
oil on cardboard,
19.0 cm x 14.1 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
This was long taken to be a self-portrait. While the Van Gogh brothers closely resembled one another, research has shown that this must in fact be a portrait of his brother Theo. It is probably the only portrait of Theo that Vincent ever made.
The portrait is unusually small and painted in considerable detail. Van Gogh was probably trying to compete with portrait photos. He had written some time earlier, 'it's a cause worth fighting for to show people that there's something else in human beings besides what the photographer is able to get out of them with his machine.'