35 Year Portrait

  • Robert Arneson, 35 Year Portrait, 1986, glazed ceramic, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Edith S. and Arthur J. Levin, 2005.5.2

Robert Arneson’s two-faced self-portrait is a play on the traditional portrait bust as well as sculptures marking the graves of Greek and Roman heroes and the double-headed Roman deity, Janus. Throughout 35 Year Portrait, Arneson juxtaposed images of his wrinkled, older self with ones of classical beauty, flippantly reminding the viewer that everyone ages and dies. Rather than create an idealized image, the artist offered a realistic self-portrait and a frank evaluation of his own fate. Arneson employed his characteristic wit to tackle this difficult subject matter. He incised the word huh?” and stamped CHUG CHUGGIN ALONG” on the pedestal, both of which emphasize Arneson’s tendency toward satirical self-reflection in his self-portraits.
I can poke fun at myself. I know myself better than anyone else, and I’m free.” The artist, quoted in Robert Arneson: Self-Reflections, 1997
35 Year Portrait
76 1425 5827 14 in. (193.765.169.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Edith S. and Arthur J. Levin

Mediums Description
glazed ceramic
  • Object – written matter
  • Portrait male – Arneson, Robert – nude
  • Portrait male – Arneson, Robert – self-portrait
  • Portrait male – Arneson, Robert – full length
  • Portrait male – Arneson, Robert – head
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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