What drives an artist to paint a picture of his own face every single day? Philip Akkerman (1957) has done just that year after year, for more than 40 years and counting. Throughout history, countless artists have made one or more self-portraits; one’s own face is, after all, patient and cheap. Remb
...randt, for one, often used himself as a model to practise various states of mind, but for Akkerman, the self-portrait is an aim in itself: painting his head every day has become a concept.
Akkerman experiments with endless different styles at the academy, and admits that he lost his way. In order to make his art more manageable, in 1981 he took the decision to return to what he made in his youth: self-portraits. He’s now made tens of thousands of them, using – in the end – different styles, techniques, colours, textures and even different signatures . That being said, all of the self-portraits have one thing in common: Akkerman’s rather stern countenance.
This is one of the earliest self-portraits. The 26 year old looks at us with a gaze that could be defiant, or perhaps searching, or pensive? His head fully occupies the picture. The canvas is not one of the three standard sizes that Akkerman uses from 1986 onwards. The unmixed colours and somewhat coarse brushwork are reminiscent of Fauvism.
Long-term loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency.
Text: Renate Ketelaars, guide and museum host
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Oil on canvas on panel
38.8 x 32 cm (h x w)
Type of object
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