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1919 Claude Buck Born: New York, New York 1890 Died: Santa Barbara, California 1974 oil on wood 13 5/8 x 14 in. (34.5 x 35.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. Claude Buck 1983.46.7 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 39A

Luce Center Label

Claude Buck painted many self-portraits, often because he couldn’t afford a model. He was inspired by the work of classical artists, and in this work the subdued, golden colors and heavy varnish evoke an old-master painting. The dreamy landscape and moonlit sky create a romantic setting for the portrait, expressing Buck’s idealism as a young artist beginning his career. The figure looks back over his shoulder with an intense gaze, as if he is taking one last glimpse of the world behind him before setting off on an unknown journey. Even though his technique is very conservative, Buck’s decision to paint a wide-eyed figure whose head almost fills the canvas makes the image much more confrontational than a traditional portrait.


Occupation - art - artist

Portrait male - Buck, Charles Claude - bust

Portrait male - Buck, Charles Claude - self-portrait


paint - oil