Self-Portrait in front of a Birch Forest, Hans Thoma
Hans Thoma
Self-Portrait in front of a Birch Forest
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Hans Thoma

Self-Portrait in front of a Birch Forest, 1899


Dimensions
94.0 x 75.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
1370
Acquisition
Acquired in 1902 as a gift from friends and admirers of the artist, property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
Status
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 6

Texts

About the Work

Hans Thoma painted this self-portrait in the year of his 60th birthday. As with other self-portraits, he shows himself as a half-figure in strict frontality, with his hand resting on a walking stick, that might be seen as a symbol for the path travelled in life. The striking background can also be read symbolically. The birch trunks, highlighted by a glowing sky, flicker like flames above the artist’s head. For the deeply religious Thoma, the unusual glow may have been a reference to the universally divine of all things. Thoma presents himself here as an aged artist with unabated creative power. His inward-looking, visionary gaze underlines the source of his pictorial inventions, the topic of which, at least in his later works, revolved mostly around the existential themes of human life between birth and death.

Work Data

Basic Information

Title
Self-Portrait in front of a Birch Forest
Painter
Period Produced
School
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Material
Technique
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Monogrammiert und datiert unten rechts: HTh (ligiert) 99

Property and Acquisition

Institution
Administration
Collection
Creditline
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Eigentum des Städelschen Museums-Vereins e.V.
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquisition
Acquired in 1902 as a gift from friends and admirers of the artist, property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.

Work Content

Motifs and References

Iconclass

Primary
  • 48C513(+2) portrait, self-portrait of painter (+ artist in non-work situation)
  • 61B2(THOMA, Hans)11(+52) historical person (THOMA, Hans) - historical person (THOMA, Hans) portrayed alone (+ (THOMA, Hans) bust portrait)
  • 31D16(+1) old man (+ front view)
  • 25G3(BIRCH) trees: birch
Secondary

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Last update

01.02.2023