Mariano Pidelaserra’s self-portraits are rare. This is one of the most celebrated from his second period, which began in the late 1920s after he returned to painting following some years of semi-retirement. It is striking for the subtly distant manner, half-way between ingenuous and profound, with which the artist depicts the expression on his own face, and for the bold, free and anti-naturalistic colouring with which the clothes are painted.
The canvas is dated 1935 on the front but is inscribed with the date 1933 on the reverse. It was in fact published in 1934 as the frontispiece to the first monograph to be published on the artist, written by Francesc Pujols. Pidelaserra subsequently reworked it, as he frequently did with his paintings, and it therefore differs in appearance to the illustration in Pujols’s text. Around this date Pidelaserra executed another self-portrait of exactly the same size. Both were shown in the retrospective exhibition of his work held in 1948.