About This Artwork

Frederick W. MacMonnies
American, 1863–1937

Self-Portrait, 1898/1906

Oil on canvas
54.6 x 45.7 cm (21 1/2 x 18 in.)

Restricted gift of Mrs. Harold T. Martin, 1980.202

Frederick MacMonnies abruptly gave up a successful career as a sculptor to take up painting around 1898, but his lack of commerical success in the venture ultimately forced him to abandon it around 1906. At least eight self-portraits are known; although none is signed or dated, they all likely originate from this period. While in several of these MacMonnies holds a palette and brush, he is not identified as an artist in this painting. Portrayed more as a gentleman of leisure, he appears ready to depart to attend a casual gathering. Part of a group of expatriate American artists living in Giverny, France, MacMonnies drew inspiration from his well-known neighbor, Claude Monet, and the broken brushwork and bold lighting of this painting show its affinity with Impressionism.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

Judith A. Barter et al, The Age of American Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2011), no. 53.

Ownership History

The artist; by descent to his second wife, Alice Jones MacMonnies, until c. 1963; given to Peter Joray, New York, c. 1963-1966; sold to Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1966-1980; sold to The Art Institute, 1980.

Interpretive Resources

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