This self-portrait, which is part of a series that Carrière began in 1887, exemplifies his signature style of nuanced umber tones and hazy brushwork. His approach creates the impression of people materializing out of, or merging into, the surface of the canvas. It prompted one critic to observe, "Carrière sculpts with shadow." The vague, misty appearance of the artist’s work was prized by contemporaries tired of precisely detailed and realistic paintings. A collector from Connecticut purchased this likeness in 1893, probably at the advice of Robert Simpson Cassatt, father of the American painter Mary Cassatt.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): Eugène Carrière
[Boussod, Valadon & Cie, Paris, 1893; stock no. 23023; purchased from the artist on May 15, for Fr 1,125; sold on June 21, for Fr 1,820, to Whittemore]; Harris Whittemore, Saugatuck, Conn. (1893–1926; by deed to Whittemore Co. on November 20, 1926); J. H. Whittemore Co. (1926–74; sold to Whittemore Jr.); Harris Whittemore Jr. (from 1974; bought by his wife from his estate); Mrs. Harris Whittemore Jr. (until 1979; sold to Weimann); Robert Paul Weimann Jr. and Robert Paul Weimann 3rd, Woodbridge, Conn. (1979; sold to Greenspan); [Stuart Greenspan, New York, 1979; sold to MMA]
New York. Kent Fine Art. "Eugène Carrière: The Symbol of Creation," May 8–June 30, 1990, not in catalogue.
Charles S. Moffett and Anne Wagner inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1979–1980. New York, 1980, pp. 44–45, ill., date it about 1893; note that Mary Cassatt's father may have persuaded Whittemore to purchase this picture.
Véronique Nora-Milin with Alice Lamarre. Eugène Carrière, 1849–1906: Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint. [Paris], 2008, p. 152, no. 384, ill., dates it about 1890–93.
Nora-Milin (2008) catalogues eighteen self-portrait paintings by Carrière, including this one.