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Self Portrait is a composite of two drawings on a single sheet which O’Doherty made in 1958 after his first year in the United States. It echoes another portrait, a small oil,Transitional Head, 1957, now in the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, and an earlier three-quarter-length painting, Portrait of the Artist as a Naked Young Man, painted in 1953 when the artist was still a student doctor in Dublin. In the early 1960s O’Doherty began to make his first Conceptual artworks. Perhaps this early drawing, presenting different views and fragments, foretells the figure of the artist and his tendency to slip behind a multiplicity of forms, of personae, where future portraits are brought to life in an embodiment of intertextuality. Throughout his subsequent career a number of self-portraits of the artist have emerged, implicit in a range of Conceptual artworks, the most tangible of which is the life-long project, The Transformation, Discontinuity, and Degeneration of the Image, begun in 1969.

MediumPencil on paper
Dimensions 35.5 x 27.5 cm Framed: 61 x 50.5 cm
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Donation, Novak/O'Doherty Collection, 2015
Item NumberIMMA.3917
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Brian O'Doherty, Patrick Ireland, Self Portrait, 1958, Pencil on paper, 35.5 x 27.5 cm Framed: 61 x 50.5 cm, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Donation, Novak/O'Doherty Collection, 2015

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

Brian O'Doherty

Brian O'Doherty 1928–2022

Brian O’Doherty was born in Ireland and moved to New York in 1957. A qualified medical doctor, O’Doherty became renowned as an artist, writer, television host, and educator. Consistently exploring the multiple nature of identity, he adopted various personae, notably 'Patrick Ireland', who was buried at IMMA in 2008. Major retrospectives of O’Doherty/Ireland’s work were held at the National Museum of American Art, Dublin City Gallery, the Hugh Lane and the Grey Art Gallery, New York. Brian O'Doherty died at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday 7th of November 2022, at the age of 94.

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Patrick Ireland

Patrick Ireland 1972–2008

During the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1972, Brian O'Doherty, in a performance before 30 invited witnesses and assisted by artists Robert Ballagh and Brian King, undertook to sign his artworks Patrick Ireland 'until such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland'. After 36 years of making art as Patrick Ireland, O'Doherty reclaimed his birth name with the symbolic burial of his alter ego in the grounds of IMMA on the afternoon of Tuesday 20 May 2008.
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Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.