Self-Portrait with a Pipe (2)

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License of this image: CC-BY-SA
License of original image: Kettle' s Yard, University of Cambridge - Public Domain

By: Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915)
Created: 1913, Collection: Kettle' s Yard, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK Rights: Public Domain

It's the 'I'm so over it' expression that is key here. For those of us lacking in the bone structure, experiment with ways of getting these sharp cubist angles.

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a very prolific draughtsman: he sketched restlessly in drawing classes, museums, parks and the streets of London. Portraiture and self-portraiture were one of his preferred genres for technical experimentation throughout his brief career. At the time he made the Self-Portrait with a Pipe which is one of three sketches (1913), Gaudier was exploring Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Futurism and Cubism. These portraits offer a fascinating insight into the progressive transformation from a naturalistic to an almost Cubist image. In the portraits Gaudier self-consciously announces himself as an avant-garde artist, an indication of his increasing confidence and ambition by 1913. His bowler hat, at a jaunty angle, and pipe clenched between his teeth display his contempt for the “bloody bourgeois” of late Edwardian society.