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There are eight known self-portraits by Thayer in such collections as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. The Snite Museum’s painting is closely related to another self-portrait in the collection of the National Academy of Design in New York that Thayer apparently placed there when he applied for membership to the academy. The present version, although clearly an oil sketch and unfinished in appearance, seems to have pleased the artist to the extent that he decided to sign it. With its directly confrontational pose and conspicuous intensity, the painting is a striking example of late nineteenth-century portraiture in the American tradition.
from Snite Museum of Art, Selected Works: Snite Museum of Art (Notre Dame, 2005)