Sir Stanley Spencer
Self-Portrait 1959

Artwork details

Sir Stanley Spencer 1891–1959
Date 1959
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 508 x 406 mm
frame: 665 x 565 x 80mm
Acquisition Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1982
Not on display

Display caption

This is Spencer's final self-portrait and one of his last paintings. In December 1958 he discovered that he was suffering from cancer and underwent an operation. Unfortunately the malignancy was not excised and Spencer died on 14 December 1959. Five months before his death he stayed with friends in Yorkshire where he painted this portrait. Although seriously ill he finished the picture in five days, in the drawing room of the house, using a bedroom mirror. The work is remarkable for the unflinching scrutiny of the artist's gaze, and its use of extreme close-up to convey a sense of physical and psychological intensity.

September 2004

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