GOGH, Vincent van
(b. 1853, Groot Zundert, d. 1890, Auvers-sur-Oise)


August 1889, Saint-Rémy
Oil on canvas, 57 x 44 cm
Private collection

Catalogue numbers: F 626, JH 1770.

Restricted to motifs selected from within the asylum, van Gogh began a series of portraits. He did six of them at Saint-Rémy, and they stand out as isolated yet imposing achievements of the art of portrait painting. Three of the six (F 626, 528, 627) are self-portrait. The other portraits are the Portrait of Trabuc (F 629), Portrait of a Patient (F 703), the Portrait of a Young Peasant (F 531).

In the present self-portrait, van Gogh's bony head still bears evident signs of the recent struggles. It is not only the contrastive colours that make his face look paler than usual; the pale yellowish green apparently gave a faithful account of his condition at that time. Unusually for his self-portraits, van Gogh has equipped himself here with the attributes of the artist.

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