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Self-Portrait

Horace Pippin (American, 1888–1946). Self-Portrait, 1941. Oil on canvas board, 14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1942 (RCA1942:2). © 1941 Estate of Horace Pippin.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Public Domain

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Horace Pippin

American, 1888-1946

Self-Portrait, 1941

oil on canvas board

support: 14 x 11 inches (35.56 x 27.94 cm); framed: 20 1/8 x 17 x 2 5/8 inches (51.12 x 43.18 x 6.67 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1942

RCA1942:2

More Details

Inscriptions

signature, undated / lower right / H. PiPPiN

Provenance

Robert Carlen Gallery, Philadelphia;
Downtown Gallery, New York;
purchased from them by the Albright Art Gallery, 1942

Class

Paintings

Work Type

Oil painting

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Many of Horace Pippin’s works are related to his experience serving in World War I (1914–18), and this is one of only two known self-portraits. Stationed in France as part of a segregated African American regiment, Pippin was wounded by a German sniper, leaving his right arm paralyzed. As part of his rehabilitation, he taught himself to paint, holding the brush in his right hand and guiding it onto and around the canvas with his left. Although self-taught, Pippin engaged with the modernist trend of calling attention to the natural flatness of canvas. He achieved this in Self-Portrait through several techniques. First, the easel and chair are created almost exclusively using horizontal and vertical lines, rather than the diagonals traditionally utilized to create the impression of depth. Secondly, Pippin places himself as parallel as possible to the surface of the painting. Finally, the minimal color palette further removes any sense of spatial extension.

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