Description & Technical information

This striking self-portrait is typical of many of Austin Osman Spare’s portraits in its unsettling intensity. Always interested in achieving and expressing a heightened self-awareness, the artist produced a number of powerful self-portrait drawings, pastels and paintings throughout his career. The present sheet may be closely compared to another, slightly larger self-portrait drawing, also dated 1935 and likewise on tinted paper, in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The appearance of the artist at around this time is also recorded in a painted self-portrait of 1935.

Medium: Pencil with touches of red, green and white chalk, on paper washed a pale brown
Signature: Signed with initials and dated AOS / 35 at the lower left

Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.3 cm (8 x 5¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: Maas Gallery, London
Acquired from them in 2002 by a private collection.
Literature: William Wallace, The Catalpa Monographs: A Critical Survey of the Art and Writings of Austin Osman Spare, London, 2015, illustrated pl.45.
Exhibitions: Possibly London, 56-58 Walworth Road, Austin Osman Spare: Exhibition of Paintings, Autumn 1938, no.171 (‘Self (1935)’, priced at £3, 3s.).
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints