Born in 1958 in London, before moving to Scotland as a child, Howson is considered one of the foremost figurative painters of his generation. The most successful of the ‘Glasgow Boys’ who emerged during the 1980s, his pieces are influenced by the streets of Glasgow, often portraying the dark brutality and gritty reality of the of the human condition. Experiences during his time as official British war artist in Bosnia further shaped Howson’s unique style and gave him insight into the horrors of conflict. Howson’s critical acclaim and worldwide reputation has seen his works become much sought after and collected by faithful and prominent cultural patrons the world over. This powerful and intimate self-portrait, dated from 2001, relates closely to the central figures in two of his epic large-scale pieces - The First Step and The Third Step – from around the same period: a series which chronicles Howson’s struggles with addiction through a hedonistic lifestyle, prior to converting to Christianity and his subsequent recovery. Here, Howson appears in profile, cautiously glancing at the observer, vulnerable and exposed.