Self-Portrait in a Fur Cap

Black, gray pastel portrait of man in a fur hat
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Black, gray pastel portrait of man in a fur hat

Date:

1765/68

Artist:

Joseph Wright of Derby
English, 1734-1797

About this artwork

Over a century after its creation, the French novelist Marcel Proust said of Jean-Siméon Chardin’s audacious self-portrait, “This old oddity is so intelligent, so crazy . . . above all, so much of an artist.” In a fitting finale to a long, successful career as a painter of still lifes and genre scenes, Chardin turned in his last decade to a new medium, pastel, and to a new subject matter, portraits (primarily self-portraits). Eye problems arising from lead-based oil paint poisoning were the partial cause of this dramatic change. Of his thirteen extant pastel self-portraits, the most famous are versions of the example seen here, with the casually dressed, aging artist in his studio. A virtuoso colorist, the septuagenarian here revealed a joyously free stroke and palette. Nonetheless, the construction of the figure is solid and rigorous, adding to his powerful presence. This composition was created at the same time as a portrait of the artist’s wife for the 1775 Salon (Musée du Louvre, Paris). A year later, Chardin—with greater daring—replicated the pair. These later portraits were separated for almost two hundred years, until they were reunited in the collection of the Art Institute.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Joseph Wright of Derby

Title

Self-Portrait in a Fur Cap

Origin

England

Date

1765–1768

Medium

Monochrome pastel (grisaille) on blue-gray laid paper

Inscriptions

Not signed

Dimensions

425 × 295 mm

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number

1990.141

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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