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




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.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings


Joseph Wright of Derby


Self-Portrait in a Fur Cap






Monochrome pastel (grisaille) on blue-gray laid paper


Not signed


425 × 295 mm

Credit Line

Clarence Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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