Autoportrait (c.1918)

Soutine, Chaïm (1893-1943)

Autoportrait (Self-Portrait)
Oil on canvas, 54.6 × 45.7 cm
Princeton University Art MuseumPrinceton

Soutine arrived in Paris in 1913 and became a member of the cosmopolitan artistic world of Montparnasse and the group that critics of the 1920s named the “School of Paris.” Here he portrays himself facing the easel, a formula earlier used by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Cézanne. Whereas those masters showed themselves as heroic, purposeful figures before a canvas, Soutine depicts himself as a small figure turning to face us; on the reverse of the canvas is a dark, mysterious figure, perhaps a lurking alter ego. (PUAM)