Self Portrait

Initially, Fergusson used his own image whilst he was training and familiarising himself with oil paint. After his move to Paris in 1907 his sketchbooks show a more consistent focus on his own features. The serious, introspective self-image he projects contrasts with the exuberant character of much of his work.

This portrait is radically simplified with green shadows on the side of the head and nose indicating further Fauve influence. The extremely bold, vigorous brushwork shows a daring lack of concern for academic finish, a criticism commonly levelled at the Fauves. It is a very experimental work.

Black, the colour banished from the palettes of the 'light' obsessed Impressionists, was reintroduced by the Fauves and found a dramatic outlet in Fergusson's self portraits. The work of the French poet painter Auguste Chabaud (1882-1955) was another important influence at this time.

  • Material/Medium: oil paint on canvas
  • Date: 1907
  • Creator: John Duncan Fergusson (1874-1961)
  • Accession number: 1992.207
  • Category: Fine Art
  • Subject: n/a