A selection of Helene Schjerfbeck’s self-portraits:

- Self-portrait, 1884-85 (Helsinki, Finland, Ateneum Art Museum)

- Self-portrait, 1912 (Helsinki, Finland, Ateneum Art Museum)

- Self-portrait on black background, 1915 (Helsinki, Finland, Ateneum Art Museum)

- Self portrait with black mouth, 1939 (Helsinki, Finland, Didrichsens Konstmuseum)

- Self-portrait with red spot, 1944 (Helsinki, Finland, Ateneum Art Museum)

The self-portraits make for a harrowing and outspoken psychological portrait of the aging artist, who records with unreserved frankness and keen self-observation, not only her physical change and eventual deterioration, but also her soul, her doubts, mental torments, and fear of death. […] In the last self-portraits, she only appears a shadow of herself, almost a ghost in which her skull can be noticed, with large, deep eye sockets set off by only a few heavy, dark brushstrokes.

Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide

04/07/12 at 9:29pm
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