Public Domain Art: Self-Portrait,

From the Met:

Artwork: Self-portrait | Artist: Samuel Brown


Image: Self-portrait, Medium: Watercolor, charcoal, and graphite on paper, Artist: Samuel Joseph Brown, Jr., Credit: Gift of Pennsylvania W. P. A., 1943

Samuel Brown received a Masters degree in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, and quickly established himself as an expert watercolorist. He had the distinction of being the first African American hired by the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), the government’s initial work-relief program for the arts, and later, he worked for the WPA in Philadelphia as both a painter and printmaker. Here we are confronted by his large self-portrait, a deceptively complex composition that presents (improbably) both profile and ¾ views. While we look at him from these dual perspectives, the artist studies himself in the mirror, as his reflection, likewise, studies us.

View more of Samuel Joseph Brown’s work here.

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