George M. Ottinger (1833-1917), Self Portrait, c.1880, oil on board, 17 7/8 x 14 1/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1976
This week we celebrate Museum Selfie Day. The term “selfie” was first used in 2002, but became commonplace and even in the dictionary by 2013. While the term is a twenty-first-century phenomenon, the idea of capturing oneself in an image is centuries old. This week, we recognize one such artist and artwork: George M. Ottinger’s Self-Portrait. Ottinger studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and later taught many students both in private lessons and at the University of Deseret. In addition to painting portraits like the self-portrait seen here, Ottinger painted historical subject matter, genre scenes, and landscapes.