Walter Sickert (1860-1942)
Portrait of Mrs Barrett, 1906
Oil on canvas
50.8 × 40.3 cm. (20 × 15 ⅞ in.)
SICKERT: The Theatre of Life
In 1934, Virginia Woolf described Walter Sickert as ‘probably the best painter now living in England'. Among the sources of inspiration which sustained him over a long career, none won him so much acclaim and infamy as the human face and body. After a short period as an actor, he spent his life fashioning new identities for himself and his sitters. Eight decades after his death, SICKERT: The Theatre of Life brings together over forty of his figure paintings, including some of the most original works executed by a British artist in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many of these works have not been exhibited since the artist's lifetime.
The exhibition spans the full length of Sickert's career, with paintings loaned from museums and private collections. Early works include his music-hall scenes and interiors from Venice and Camden Town. In addition to Sickert's First World War masterpiece, The Integrity of Belgium (Government Art Collection), visionary paintings from the 1920s and '30s will include The Plaza Tiller Girls – a group of works depicting Jazz Age dancers brought together by Piano Nobile for the first time.
SICKERT: The Theatre of Life has been curated with Richard Shone. An accompanying publication features essays by Richard Shone and Wendy Baron with first-hand accounts of Sickert by Basil Jonzen and Duncan Grant.