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Redpath wrote to Borchard: ‘... a self portrait in oil of me about 20-odd years ago. As you can imagine at 69 I don’t look like the portrait now, but it isn’t bad (I think)’ On the side of the letter is a crucial afterthought: ‘the date would have to be marked as I shouldn’t like anyone to think I paint myself 20 years younger.’
Close observation dispels any initial impression of severity. The glossy black hair contains some hints of blue and pink paint, as though even its dark sobriety was shot through with ‘colours’. The eyes, steady in their gaze, are disquietingly dissimilar.
The beauty of the figure in relief against the scrambled beige and white background, and her concentrated repose, create a subtle atmosphere of enigmatic reserve. Yet she was also an outgoing personality. Her self portrait brings together seemingly disparate but inextricable parts of herself: her love of colour and liveliness against a background of rare sensitivity.
oil on board
H 53 x W 43 cm
acquired by Ruth Borchard as part of the original collection