About this artwork
Alice Rahon represented herself in this composition with a pallete in hand, standing atop a series of ascending switchbacks lined with abstracted depictions of animals, people, 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 style inspired by Paleolithic cave art. This work’s shimmering surface is composed of materials sourced from nature, including sand and volcanic ash, further grounding 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 × 55.9 cm (28 × 22 in.)
- Wirt D. Walker Endowment, Major Acquisitions Centennial, Luella Thomas, Samuel A. Marx, Simeon B. Williams Endowment, and Maurice D. Gelleher funds