Self Portrait

© the artist's estate. Image credit: Ruth Borchard Collection

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In 2001, Marr’s self portrait was added to the Borchard Collection. This 1946 picture was painted in his Hampstead bedsit, where he was living after being demobbed from the RAF. He was studying at Heatherley’s School but finding ‘the very academic teaching [there] to be unhelpful.’ Marr has said that Bomberg was pleased with this self portrait: ‘It looks as if it has been carved out of granite.’ He attended Bomberg’s classes. In portraying the face with its high cheek-bones, in his use of monumental black and blue-black lines, and in his dark yet vibrant palette, Marr spurned English academicism. Unsmiling, this is a face marked by composure, determination, but also by brightness of spirit. The latter is evoked through the use of flaming strokes tingeing his lips, ear, forehead – in contrast to the blackness of his hair and dark outlines throughout.

The Ruth Borchard Collection


Self Portrait




oil on canvas


H 40.5 x W 30.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Ruth Borchard as part of the original collection

Work type



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The Ruth Borchard Collection

Greater London England

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