About This Artwork
Oil on artist's board, mounted on cradled panel
16 1/8 x 13 1/4 in. (41 x 32.5 cm)
Joseph Winterbotham Collection, 1954.326
Vincent van Gogh painted his first known self-portrait in 1886, following the model of the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt. But by the time he made this work, a year later, he had clearly shifted his allegiance from the Old Masters to the Parisian avant-garde. Under the influence of Neo-Impressionist color theory, he based this painting on the contrast of complementary colors. The overall blue-green tone of the background serves as a foil to the orange-red of the artist's hair and beard. While the intensity of the colors is enhanced by the brushwork, the painting's energy and turbulence hint at the inner life of the artist.
— Permanent collection label
Cologne, Sonderbund Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler, Internationale Kunstausstellung des Sonderbundes Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler zu Cöln 1912, May 25–September 30, 1912, cat. 11.
Berlin, Galerie Paul Cassirer, 10. Ausstellung, May–June 1914, cat. 28.
Frankfurt-am-Main, Galerie M. Goldschmidt, Vincent van Gogh, March 15–April 15, 1928, cat. 18.
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Mme Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, the artist’s sister in law, Amsterdam; sold through Frankfurter Kunstverein to Leonhard Tietz (died 1914), Cologne, in February 1912 [see records in van Gogh-Bonger’s account book: "19/2 2-1912 'Kunstverein Frankfurt portret' 2942.50 [guilders]" and "95/15 2-1912 'ontvangen uit Frankfort Kunstverein voor portret' 2942.50 [guilders]" in Stolwijk and Veenenbos 2002; see also Cologne 1912 where Leonard Tietz is listed as the owner]; by inheritance to his son, Alfred Tietz, Cologne until at least 1930 [acc. to Amsterdam 1930]. E. J. van Wisselingh and Co., Amsterdam, 1933 [it was included in two exhibitions at van Wisselingh]. Bignou Art Gallery, New York [based on undated photograph of the painting no. 2156 in an album of French paintings and drawings that passed through the Bignou Gallery preserved at the Frick Art Reference Gallery]; sold to Joseph Winterbotham, Burlington, Vermont by at least 1935 [see Joseph Winterbotham’s letter to Robert Harshe, dated June 10, 1935, copy in curatorial file]; given to the Art Institute, 1954.