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

Hans Thoma

Self-Portrait in front of a Birch Forest, 1899

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


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

Work Content

Similar works

  • All

More to discover



Do you have any suggestions, questions or information about this work?

Last update