Louis John Steele

Self portrait wearing a hat

Self portrait wearing a hat by Louis John Steele

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Self-portrait Wearing a Hat is Louis John Steele's earliest New Zealand self-portrait and the earliest New Zealand self-portrait in the Auckland Art Gallery collection. Created in his top-floor studio at the Victoria Arcade, it uses the sunlight from the north-facing windows to illuminate his face as he peers into a wall-mounted mirror in order to copy his appearance. The jaunty hat, painter's smock and scarf contribute a bohemian air to this naturalistic self-portrait. Steele had a local reputation for his unconventional attire which this lively work evokes with its lack of formality and quality of engaged casuality. This painting is a fine instance of a colonial artist making an image of himself purely for the pleasure of painting.

Self portrait wearing a hat
Production date
circa 1889
oil on canvas on cardboard
372 x 295 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased, 2008
Accession no
Copyright Expired
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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