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Self-Portrait with White Collar

Marc Chagall, French (born Russia), 1887 - 1985

Made in Vitebsk, Belarus, Europe


Oil on cardboard

11 1/2 x 10 1/8inches (29.2 x 25.7cm) Framed: 14 1/8 x 13 x 1 7/8 inches (35.9 x 33 x 4.8 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    Unlike the dreamlike and folk art-inspired paintings for which Marc Chagall is best known, this painting reveals the pensive side of the artist's personality. One of a series of self-portraits he painted in the Eastern European town of Vitebsk in Belarus, during World War I, it also demonstrates how Chagall continued to examine himself in the light of artistic traditions, in this case calling to mind the intensely introverted work of Vincent van Gogh, whose self-portraits Chagall would have seen in Berlin in 1914. Born in Vitebsk, Chagall moved to Paris in 1910 and soon began exhibiting at the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Indépendents, the two main venues for contemporary non-academic painting at the time. Though impressed by Cubism, Fauvism, and Expressionism, he developed his own distinctive style based on an idealized, often fantastical interpretation of peasant life and Jewish tradition, using avant-garde painting techniques. Here, the artist's face and hair are set off by the bold, flat curve of his white collar and by his green shirt. The green lily leaves on the left, which have been compared to an ancient victor's laurel crown, animate the portrait with their curving lines and vivid color. The result is a striking glimpse of the artist's perception of himself at an early and formative stage in his career. Emily Hage, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 170.


Private collection, Belgium, as of 1929 [1]. Chester Dale (1883-1962), New York, as of 1944; sale, Chester Dale, Parke-Bernet, New York, March 16, 1944, no. 13 (illus.) [2]; purchased by Pierre Matisse (dealer). Louis E. Stern, New York, 1944 (from Matisse?) [3]; bequest to PMA, 1963. 1. See Sélection, no. 6, 1929, illus. p. 95, as "Coll. part[iculaire], Belgique." In his 1928 Chagall monograph André Salmon records at least four different collectors of Chagall in Belgium. 2. Listed as "property of a New York private collector." The painting was not included in exhibitions of the Chester Dale collection in 1928, 1931, 1942 or 1943, nor was it included in the 1929 and 1943 monographs on the Chester Dale collection. 3. Stern lent the painting to the exhibition "French Paintings of the 20th Century" at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in 1944-45.