Vincent van Gogh (1853 - 1890), Paris, September-October 1887
oil on canvas,
41.9 cm x 30.1 cm
Credits (obliged to state): Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)
This sketchy self-portrait is an example of the amazingly rapid progress Van Gogh made in Paris. The summery palette and loose brushwork betray the influence of the Impressionists. The smock, hat and background consist of large, outlined areas of colour. The face and beard are built up in more detail using different tones.
Van Gogh was practising painting portraits. Because models were expensive, he bought a good mirror and used himself as his subject. He later wrote to his brother Theo: 'because if I can manage to paint the coloration of my own head, which is not without presenting some difficulty, I'll surely be able to paint the heads of the other fellows and women as well.'