The artist has self-irony.

by Self-Portrait of the Artist

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There is some earnestness in this 1882 Self-portrait before a mirror by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec which the sketch below, also from that year, humorously subverts.

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Yet although the two works are opposite in spirit, in both of them (either through the framing of the bust in the mirror or through the conventions of caricature) the artist is somehow disguising his proportions — which were a cause of physical and psychological concern for him throughout his life.

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(This is a gelatin silver print by Maurice Guibert portraying Toulouse-Lautrec as both artist and model, in the 1890s. Guibert’s playful pictures of Toulouse-Lautrec dressed up in several guises are a model of self-irony.)

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