During the Great Depression of the 1930s, there was a Dutch-American impressionist painter by the name of Edmund Luciezel. Because of his insignificance during his life, little is known of the painter, but what is known is that he was a stock investor who, according to his mother, had enjoyed painting ever since he was a child. After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Luciezel lost his job and livelihood, and turned to painting to make a living. However, as he was an amateur artist, he languished in poverty and obscurity for the rest of his career.

After many unsuccessful attempts at painting, Luciezel began to starve and became severely depressed. Around this time, he retreated into isolation in his apartment and, between the years of 1932 and 1935, painted hundreds of self-portraits. Each depicted him staring blankly ahead, dressed in a black suit with a red velvet background. Curiously, each was painted in exactly the same way, with similar geometries and dull colors, although each one adding a bit more detail than the last.

In October of 1935, Luciezel was found slumped over on a stool in front of his canvas, his organs cut cleanly out of his body and strewn about the room. One final portrait was mounted on his easel. It depicted him with messy hair and tattered clothing flashing a crooked smile. The portrait, done in different shades of red, was painted with approximately a gallon of Luciezel's blood. The circumstances surrounding his death remain a mystery, and the case was closed in 1937.