Synopses & Reviews
Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) was an artist of prodigious creativity. For sixty years, in his roles as painter, teacher, and polemicist, he was a source of inspiration and influence to successive generations of British painters.
With his roots in the Victorian era, Sickert broke all taboos. He was uncompromisingly truthful, revealing beauty in the squalid as in the sublime: in cockney music halls, the crumbling streets of Dieppe, the grand sites of Venice, and the low-life of Camden Town. Decades before Warhol, he exploited the potential of photo-based imagery and of studio production lines to create iconic portraits of the grandees of theatrical, social, and political life.
This catalogue is divided into two parts: essay chapters describe Sickert's chronology in terms of stylistic and technical development, and a fully illustrated catalogue presents more than 2800 drawings and paintings, many of which have never been published before.
Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) is one of the great figures of British painting. He is perhaps most famous for his depictions of the music hall, its artistes, audience and elaborate interiors; and for his vibrant views of Venice and Dieppe. In recent years his later works - portraits and scenes from contemporary theatre - have gained him new admirers. Sickert's range of subject was enormous and his technical achievement both searching and progressive. Too long regarded as simply a follower of the Impressionists he has now come to be seen to have strong affinities with a wide range of artists - from Hogarth to Keene, from nineteenth-century German illustrators to Rouault and Munch. He embraced formal portraiture and idyllic landscape, controversial domestic scenes (such as Camden Town Murder), and memorable portrayals of public figures, the canals of Venice, the old streets of Dieppe and of England in the 1930s. There have been numerous exhibitions of Sickert's work since his death but the last full-scale retrospective in London was over thirty years ago. This publication coincides with, and serves as the catalogue of, a major retrospective exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. It includes essays on Sickert's artistic context and influence, the history of the music hall, and Sickert's interest in conventional theatre in the 1930s. Written by the foremost experts on Sickert and his period, this book is a richly illustrated complement to the exhibition, exploring all its themes in detail.
About the Author
Wendy Baron was formerly director of the British Government Art Collection. She is co-author of Sickert: Paintings, published by Yale University Press.