Not earlier than 1889

45 x 38, oil on canvas


Self-portraits occupy a special place in the work of Paul Gauguin. The theme of the artist-prophet asserting his own creative credo appears with special clarity in these works. It is not surprising that Gauguin liked to paint himself against the background of his own works. In the self-portrait from the Pushkin collec­tion the background is provided by his early Symbolist painting In the Waves (1889), in which the figure of Undine with her fiery red hair down is clearly vis­ible in the upper right corner. This means that the self-portrait could not have been painted before 1889. Yet a later dating cannot be ruled out: the work could testify to an emotional need by Gauguin, who returned from Polynesia in 1893, to unite his works into a single whole.