Gauguin exemplified the restless artistic spirit. In this image, painted during a brief return to Paris from Tahiti in 1893, he plays the role of "outsider," wearing the clothes and long hair of a Breton peasant rather than the suit of a Parisian. The background is divided horizontally, separating a cerebral and spiritual world from a physical and material one. His hand points toward a reproduction of a sketch by the painter Eugene Delacroix representing Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise. With this gesture Gauguin alludes to his sympathies for the distraught couple, for he was temporarily expelled from the paradise he had discovered in Tahiti.
Artist Paul Gauguin, French, 1848-1903
  • Self Portrait
Date ca. 1893
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 18 1/8 × 15 inches (46 × 38.1 cm)
Framed: 25 inches × 21 3/4 inches × 2 5/8 inches (63.5 × 55.2 × 6.7 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Robert H. Tannahill
Accession Number 69.306
Department European Painting
On View Modern C236, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, lower left: P Go
(Paul Guillaume, Paris, France);
until 1911, Brendon Davis (London, United Kingdom);
1911, until at least 1936, purchased by Sir Michael Sadler (Oxford, Old Headington, United Kingdom);
by 1946, until 1955, Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Wescott (New Jersey, USA);
1955, acquired by (J.K. Tannhauser Gallery, New York, New York, USA);
1955, purchased by Robert H. Tannahill [1893-1969] (Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, USA);
1969-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Exh. cat., Stafford Gallery. London, 1911, cat. 19.

Paul Gauguin. Exh. cat., Leicester Gallery. London, 1924, cat. 43.

List of Loans at the Opening Exhibition of the Modern Foreign Gallery. Tate Gallery. London, 1926, p. 4.

Newhall, B. "After Delacroix." American Magazine of Art, 1936, pp. 580-584, p. 582 (ill.).

Exh. cat., Newark Museum. Newark, 1946, p. 7, cat. 54 (lent by Mr.& Mrs. Lloyd B. Wescott).

Paul Gauguin, His Place in East and West. Exh. cat., Houston Museum of Fine Arts. Houston, 1954, cat. 48 (ill.).

James, Philip. Paul Gauguin. Exh. cat., Royal Scottish Academy and Tate Gallery. Edinburgh and London. Paul Gauguin, 1955, p. 29, cat. 45.

Sutton, D., "Notes on Paul Gauguin," Burlington Magazine, vol. 98, 1956, pp. 84-92, esp. p. 84.

Wildenstein, G. Gauguin. Paris, 1965, p. 160 (cited under W415).

"Not all painted with the same Brush." The Times Literary Supplement, August 19, 1965, p. 712.

Rothenstein, Sir J., ed. The New International Encyclopedia of Art, vol. 9. New York, 1968, pp. 64-66.

Mittelstadt, K., Paul Gauguin - Self Portraits. Oxford, 1968, p. 64 (cited under W415).

Wagner, Monique. From Gaul to De Gaulle: An Outline of French Civilization. New York, 1989, p. xiv, pl. 39 (ill.).

The Robert Hudson Tannahill Bequest to The Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1970, pp. 6, 11, 27, (ill.).

Roskill, M. Van Gogh, Gauguin and the Impressionist Circle. Greenwich, 1970, pp. 55, 296, pl. 40.

Young, M.S. "The Delights of Collecting." Apollo 92 (1970): p. 64.

La Chronique des arts et de la curiosité: supplement to Gazette des beaux-arts 77 (1971): p. 93 (as attributed to Paul Gauguin).

Detroit Institute of Arts Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 164.

Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, p. 61 (ill.).

100 Masterworks from The Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 126-127 (ill.).

Message 1995. Exh. cat., Toyota Municipal Museum of Art. Toyota, 1995-1996, pp. 58, 202-203, cat. 14 (ill.). (as datable to ca. 1893).

Degas to Matisse: Impressionist and Modern Masterpieces from The Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., The Phillips Collection. Washington, D.C., 2000-2001, pp. 50-51, 76, 139 (ill.).

Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts: Masters of Impressionism and Modern Art. Exh. cat., Sogo Museum of Art, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui Fine Arts Museum, Yawatahama Citizen Gallery. Yokohama, Kitakyushu, Fukushima, Fukui, Yawatahama, 2001, pp. 34, 82, no. 21, color repro. p. 83.

Goldin, Marco. Raffaello verso Picasso. Storie du sguardi, volti e figure. Exh. cat., Basilica Palladiana. Vicenza, p. 291, 353.

Abt, Jeffrey. Valuing Detroit’s Art Museum: A History of Fiscal Abandonment and Rescue. Detroit, 2017, pp. xvi, 127, fig. 4.3 (ill.).