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Pastel by James Wells Champney: Self-Portrait in a Felt Hat, represented by Childs Gallery

James Wells Champney

American (1843-1903)

Self-Portrait in a Felt Hat, 1896
Pastel on artist's board

Initialed and dated in pencil center right recto with artist’s own stylized monogram: “JWC 96”. A closely related watercolor is in the M. & M. Karolik Collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (58.1081). A color illustration is the frontispiece of the 1962 catalogue on the Karolik watercolors. It is described as “Self-Portrait,” 1880-85, transparent and opaque watercolor on paper.

Around 1880 Champney practically abandoned oil painting and watercolor to devote himself to pastel. In about 1885 Champney began to draw portraits in pastel, having among his sitters Henry M. Stanley and many theater folk. He was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in 1882. He wrote on and was interviewed extensively about the medium of pastel, which for him was a rediscovery of an eighteenth century medium.

Signature: monogrammed lower right