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Self-portrait with Straw Hat Róbert Berény

Artist:

Róbert Berény Budapest, 1887 – Budapest, 1953

Date: 1906
Medium: canvas, oil
Dimensions: 58.5 × 44 cm
Type: painting
Inventory number: 56.208T
Collection: Collection of Paintings

The youngest member of the group called “The Eight”, Róbert Berény began his studies at the Julian Academy in Paris in 1905, but he was more interested in the fermenting art life and the contemporary works he saw at exhibitions and in private collections. In 1906 he already presented some paintings at the Salon d’Automne and in October he summarised his efforts so far in his Self-portrait in a Straw Hat. The narrow frame of the bust seemingly adopts the traditional self-portraits of artists facing the spectator self-consciously, but Berény seems to have been more intrigued by the correlation between the primary colours of the blue of the background and the chrome yellow of the book cover than the precise rendering of the environment and instruments of the young man who, having just reached manhood, is already acknowledged as a painter. The painterly contrast of the dark vest and the glowing white shirt is perhaps a vestige of the tradition of Mihály Munkácsy, but the tilted and carefully balanced vertical axis alludes to the knowledge of Cézanne’s compositional order while the ever braver use of colours suggests acquaintance with the results of the Fauves. This work paves the way for his diverse series of painted and drawn self-portraits often characterised by irony, playfulness or the use of various modernist stylistic elements. | György Szücs

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