Van Gogh's Parisian period was one of study, renewal and experiment. From the spring of 1886 he lived with his brother in the artist's district Montmartre. He made studies of plaster figures and drawings after a live model for a few months at the studio of the academic French artist Fernand Cormon. It was there that he met kindred spirits among the young artists, including Paul Signac and Henri de Toulouse -Lautrec.
In the two years he stayed in Paris, Van Gogh painted no less than 27 self-portraits. He often could not afford models so he used his own face to experiment with color and painting techniques.
Influenced by Neo-Impressionist painting, he covered his canvases with small dots and lines in light brilliant colors. Another important source of inspiration was Japanese woodcuts, of which he made his own collection. In some paintings Van Gogh has actually imitated these prints; in other works their influence is visible in unusual composition, powerful colors and strong contours."