About this artwork
In this composition, Alice Rahon represented herself with a palette in hand, standing atop a series of ascending switchbacks lined with animals, human figures, mountains, and trees. The self-portrait—one of just two the artist created—alludes to her itinerant lifestyle and her journey to becoming a painter. Originally a Surrealist poet based in Paris, Rahon left France in 1939 for Mexico City, where she took up painting as well as sculpture. Her fascination with the cultures and landscapes of Mexico led her to develop a personal style inspired by Paleolithic cave art. The work’s shimmering surface is composed of materials sourced from the natural environment, including sand and volcanic ash, further rooting it in the place where it was created.
- Alice Rahon
- Self-Portrait and Autobiography
- Oil and sand on canvas
- Inscribed verso: Alice Rahon / Mexico 48 / “autoretrato con autobiografia”
- 73.6 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22 in.)
- Wirt D. Walker Endowment, Major Acquisitions Centennial, Luella Thomas, Samuel A. Marx, Simeon B. Williams Endowment, and Maurice D. Gelleher funds