Vincent van Gogh was one of those geniuses to whom talent was not layn in the cradle.
On the contrary, it was a long time of searching and trying that forced the grown man to keep searching for new ways of expression.
He enrolled at the age of 32 at the Academy of Arts in Antwerp. But it was probably the heated rooms and the free models rather than the desire to learn there that led him to take this step. Here, too, he remained the outsider who did not submit to any method and continued to seek his own path.
It was also in Antwerp that he received a letter from his brother telling him about the new, colourful style of the French Impressionists.
Van Gogh broke off his tents and travelled to Paris. Inspired by the paintings of the new school he immediately began to paint in this style and created a series of self-portraits, to which also the “self-portrait with grey felt hat” belonged.
Here he presents himself as a fashionably dressed Parisian, still far away from the madness of his late days, and interprets it with striking brushstrokes and strong colors.