Oct 3, 2005




William Orpen

(Irish, 1878–1931)

Oil and collage on wood

Framed: 79.1 x 69 x 6 cm (31 1/8 x 27 3/16 x 2 3/8 in.); Unframed: 61 x 49.6 cm (24 x 19 1/2 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1988.11



This unusual self-portrait by William Orpen, a modernist active in both Ireland and England, depicts the artist looking at himself in a mirror. Orpen portrays himself holding a rag, as if prepared to wipe out the image. Actual ferry tickets, "engaged seat" notices, a personal check, and a page from Orpen's diary (referring to a trip to Dublin in June 1912) are glued to the picture surface. These "intruders" from real life are cleverly arranged to create the illusion of objects pasted or stuck to the mirror. By incorporating real objects into a painting - a medium traditionally devoted to the creation of fictitious illusions, Orpen anticipated the collage experiments begun by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in 1912.

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