Van Gogh painted Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat during his Parisian sojourn (1886–88).
He wrote later "What I’m most passionate about, (...) is the portrait, the modern portrait. (...) I would like to do portraits which would look like apparitions to people a century later. So I don’t try to do us by photographic resemblance but by our passionate expressions, using as a means of expression and intensification of the character our science and modern taste for colour."
While in Paris, Van Gogh became a close friend of Toulouse Lautrec and Signac with whom he will stay in touch to the end. A figure painter at heart, Toulouse Lautrec declared "Only the human figure exists; landscape is, and should be, no more than an accessory; the painter exclusively of landscape is nothing but a bore".
Paul Signac was influential on Van Gogh both for the colors and style. Even if Van Gogh never wanted to become a pointillist, he respected and valued the style. Signac said "The art of the colorist has in some ways elements of mathematics and music"
Sources: Vincent Van Gogh’s letters (Thursday, 5 June 1890)
Van Gogh. The Life. Steven Naifeh and Gregory White
Vincent's modern portrait, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 40" x 30" (102 x 76 cm)