Jonathan Borofsky

Self-Portrait at 2,485,479


Not on display

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942
Graphite on paper
Support: 355 × 279 mm
Purchased 1984

Catalogue entry

Jonathan Borofsky born 1942

T03915 Self Portrait at 2,485,479 c.1977

Charcoal on paper 355 x 279 (14 x 11)
Inscribed ‘248579' b.r. ‘B' on back t.l. and ‘JB417/D' on back b.l.
Purchased from Paula Cooper Inc., New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1984
Exh: Jonathan Borofsky Zeichnungen 1960-1983, Kunstmuseum, Basel, June-July 1983, Städtisches Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Sept.-Oct. 1983, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Jan.-Feb. 1984, Kunsthalle, Bielefeld, April-May 1984, Kunstverein, Mannheim, May-July 1984, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sept.-Oct.1984 (not in cat.)

The iconography, style and numbering of this drawing are very close to another charcoal drawing of a head reproduced in the Basel exhibition catalogue 1983 (see no.42, ‘Self Portrait: Drawing at 2,485476' c.1977). Although Borofsky has suggested that his numbering system is not necessarily chronologically consistent (see entry for T03912) the numbers here suggest that T03915 might have been made shortly after the drawing illustrated in the Basel catalogue (the latter is also reproduced in an installation photograph together with other small unframed drawings shown at the Thomas Le Wallen Gallery, Los Angeles, 1978 in Jonathan Borofsky, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1984, pl.101).

According to Borofsky, T03915 is ‘"another self portrait" but not a study for one of his well-known "Running Men" works, although it is very similar. But it was just a charcoal drawing, there was no thought of profundity, I can certainly see I didn't know where to put the ear in the right place'.

For examples of the ‘Running Man' image see the head of the cut-out man reproduced in the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition catalogue 1984, pl.126, in an installation at the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York in 1979 (see also, pls 128, 145, 156, 174 and 200).

The artist told Sandy Nairne that he had no comment to make about the circle drawn about the head, and that

The lips aren't really my lips, but the eyes are more my eyes maybe; the hair is certainly an attempt to be my hair. I don't ever try to get too realistic. Except once or twice, I should say, when I've tried to get realistic with my self-portraits - one being the Basel self painting with a positive/negative thing on my forehead that's very realistic, and looks exactly like me.

The ‘Basel self portrait' may be No.146 in the Basel exhibition catalogue, ‘Picture from Continuous Painting at 1,306,614' 1972, an oil portrait of the artist with plus and minus signs on his forehead (also repr. Philadelphia exh. cat. 1984 pl.14).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, pp.107-8

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