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Elmar Kits Self-Portrait 1946–1948 oil, paper 35.8 × 26.4 cm

Elmar Kits painted several self-portraits in his lifetime, but the subjectivity and sad sincerity of this self-portrait is out of the ordinary. It was created just after World War II had ended, but despite the circumstances Kits does not depict himself in a formal pose holding some relic that would define him as an artist for the viewer. He appears in the picture sideways and glances at the viewer with hesitation or even sadness. Kits has rendered his face with just a few quick brushstrokes and has painted the background with similar verve, testifying to the impulsiveness of the painting process. The artist’s purpose has been not to create a contemplated self-portrait but rather to convey his state of mind at the time. Taking into consideration the complexity of the circumstances his sadness is understandable, yet his brushwork reveals vivaciousness, which hints at the perseverance of Kits’s inquisitive spirit.