Self-Portrait, Yawning

Object Details


Self-Portrait, Yawning


Joseph Ducreux (French, 1735 - 1802)




by 1783


Oil on canvas


117.8 x 90.8 cm (46 3/8 x 35 3/4 in.)

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Joseph Ducreux experimented with the traditional limitations of the genre of self-portraiture by creating an expressive, humorous, and rather unorthodox image of himself stretching and yawning. Dressed informally in a turban and bright red jacket, Ducreux, in the midst of a huge yawn, opens his mouth wide, contorting his face with the effort and stretching his right arm toward the viewer. Holding this exaggerated pose, his back sways and his stomach pushes forward; his entire body presses up close to the surface of the picture.

Ducreux was interested in the study of physiognomy and frequently used his own features as a convenient means to observe various expressions. In fact, he executed dozens of similarly exaggerated self-portraits throughout his career. A contemporary critic admired this self-portrait for its warmth, color, and expression, but later critics complained about the repetition of the subject.

by 1911 -

Possibly Edward Marriot Hodgkins, 1860 - 1932 (Paris, France; London, England)

- 1969

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, March 5, 1969, lot 132, to Julius H. Weitzner.]

1969 -

Julius H. Weitzner, 1896 - 1986 (London, England; New York, New York)

Private Dealer (Paris, France)

- 1971

Private Collection [sold, Palais Galliera, November 25, 1971, lot 14, through French and Company (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Salon de la correspondance (1783) (possibly included Getty painting)
  • Salon de la correspondance, (Paris), 1783
Salon (1791) (Cat. 698; possibly Getty painting)
  • Salon, Palais du Louvre (Paris), 1791
Messerschmidt and Modernity (July 24 to October 14, 2012) (Cat. 698; possibly Getty painting)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 24 to October 14, 2012
Education Resources

Education Resource




Looking at Portraits: Looking at One's Self

Students examine Charles-Antoine Coypel's Self-Portrait and understand what he shows in this work.

Visual Arts


Two-Part Lesson

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