Self Portraits from the Permanent Collection

Vincent Van Gogh made 30; Frida Kahlo, 55. Rembrandt van Rijn’s are thought to number in the dozens (since his apprentices often copied them, it is hard to be certain).

Self-portraits have always been an appealing mode for artists—the sitter is always available, for a start—often created for the benefit of posterity. They have long been of interest to art historians for that reason, as the choices artists make when depicting their outer appearance tells the viewer something about how they regard their inner selves, too.

This exhibition gathers self-portraits made over the course of the last century in all media – painting, printmaking, photography, drawing, and sculpture pulled from Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s permanent collection.


The permanent collection is an important measure of any museum’s value. At PAAM, the holdings of local and regional art is extensive and dynamic, comprising more than 4,000 works by over 900 artists who have worked in Provincetown and on Cape Cod. The PAAM collection weaves together at least three major art movements—each a significant strand of American art history—and creates perspectives that uniquely position the Provincetown Art Colony as a pertinent fixture to the larger art world.

Each year, PAAM presents at least two exhibitions showcasing some of the recent gifts donated to our permanent collection. As an actively collecting museum, PAAM receives on average nearly 100 new works each year, and these exhibitions allow us to proudly display a selection of those works, some of which represent our first works by an artist in our permanent collection. We extend our deepest gratitude to our new and continuing donors.

Another measure of a museum is how well it uses its collection. The PAAM collection serves as a foundation for many of our educational programs and exhibitions. Programs for both youth and adults in our Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Museum School use collection works to stimulate creativity. The Museum School courses take advantage of gallery exhibitions to clarify principles and techniques. Additionally, major museums and galleries borrow exemplary works for exhibitions around the country.

Image: David Bethuel Jamieson (1963-1992), detail of Self Portrait, 1985, Woodblock print, 2/20, Gift of Dr. Don Bacigalupi and Daniel Feder, 2021.