From 16 March – 24 January 2025, the Van Gogh self-portrait, Portrait of the Artist (1887), will be on show at National Museum Cardiff , thanks to a reciprocal loan with the Musée D’Orsay, Paris.
This is the first time the Van Gogh self-portrait has ever visited Wales. In exchange, Amgueddfa Cymru’s much-loved La Parisienne by Renoir, also known as ‘The Blue Lady’, will make its journey across the Channel.
The loan agreement closes Welsh Government’s dedicated year of Wales in France, which has created ties between the two countries in trade, culture and sport.
The Van Gogh painting will be on display as part of a -new exhibition, Art of the Selfie, which explores the question, ‘Is a self-portrait the original selfie?’.
Joining Van Gogh will be a selection of artists from the national collection of Wales, including Rembrandt, Brenda Chamberlain, Francis Bacon, Bedwyr Williams and Anya Paintsil.
Together, they showcase a wide range of different methods and artistic approaches to the concept of the self-portrait.
Throughout history, many artists have used self-portraits as ways to explore their identities and express themselves to the world. Van Gogh (1853-1890) painted no fewer than thirty-five self-portraits and became arguably one of the most recognizable faces in Western art.
Deputy Minister for Culture and Sport, Dawn Bowden said:
“What a fitting way to close our year of Wales in France, which has seen us strengthen our ties in art, sport, education and trade. In that year, France has become Wales’ number one export for food and drink; dance, music and sports troupes have toured up and down the countries promoting our values as an open, welcome and accepting nation; and now we welcome this iconic Van Gogh self-portrait to National Museum Cardiff thanks to the friendships we have made across the Channel.
“I cannot wait to be one of Amgueddfa Cymru’s many visitors who gets to explore the history of the selfie in this wonderful collection.”
Dr Kath Davies, Director of Collections and Research, Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Van Gogh’s self-portrait to Wales to celebrate the Wales in France partnership.
“I am sure visitors to the museum will enjoy seeing this work by one of the world’s best-known painters displayed alongside paintings by artists from our collection here in Wales.
The selection of self-portraits shows the different ways in which artists have chosen to characterize themselves in the same way we present and share images of ourselves today.”
For the Art of the Selfie exhibition, Amgueddfa Cymru is encouraging visitors to pay what they can for the tickets.
Jane Richardson, Chief Executive of Amgueddfa Cymru, explains:
“The national collection belongs to the people of Wales. On your behalf, we care for it, conserve it and most importantly, share it. But it’s getting tougher. Costs are getting bigger for everyone – and we’re no exception.
By paying as little as a £1 you will help us to create new, inspiring ways for people to come and enjoy the national collection and the worlds most celebrated artists.”
To book tickets for the Art of the Selfie exhibition (16 March – 24 January 2025) please visit www.museum.wales/selfie