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Record Image
La Thangue, Henry Herbert (English, b.1859, d.1929), Artist
Self Portrait
oil on canvas
775 x 548 mm sight size; 1120 x 895 mm frame size
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1951 with funds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society through the National Art Collections Fund, London.
La Thangue was a member of the Newlyn school of painters, based in the seaside town of Newlyn in Cornwall. He is best known for his paintings of agricultural workers in Sussex, Provence and Liguria, in which he recorded and celebrated a rural way of life that was becoming increasingly obsolete. His style created the appearance of dappled light and shade through short, blunt-ended brush strokes across the surface of the work.
This painting is therefore a rather unusual example of his work. Here, the artist takes the opportunity to tell us how familiar he is with the history of art. His studio includes a plaster cast of a relief sculpture, a reproduction of Velazquez’s portrait of Philip IV of Spain and a portfolio of prints. Less easy to identify are the loosely brushed, shadowy branching forms that surround the bas-relief and the mirror in which the studio lamp is reflected.
La Thangue was apparently noted for his forceful personality and his taste for controversy. His intense, direct stare gives us some sense of the former, while his clinical-looking white coat, the orderly studio and the strongly structured composition also offer clues to his nature.

not on view

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