Nicolas de Staël did not paint any self-portraits. However this painting can be seen as a metaphor of one. Painted in Paris in 1954, Verre et pinceau is also an example of the synthetic vision and style that Staël reached in the last months of 1954 and the beginning of 1955.... Verre et pinceau can be understood in yet another aspect: an artwork where the object is no longer the subject of the painting: an artwork where the glass and paintbrush represents something other than just things: a unique subject, the painter himself.
In Verre et pinceau the painter’s attributes traditionally displayed in the self-portrait – those by Rembrandt, Van Gogh or Poussin – are not only visually disconnected from the artist’s figure, but are also almost elliptic: a glass where water dilutes the paint and the paint-laden paintbrush are a sufficient representation of the ever present artist. (http://www.sothebys.com/fr/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.16.html/2014/art-contemporain-pf1405)