CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PAINTING 1900-1962
A DANCER IN A GREEN DRESS - MARIEc 1916 Walter Richard Sickert (1860 − 1942)
A woman sits astride the arm of a couch, the droop of her head extended by the plumage of her head-dress, her legs slumped out in a ‘V’. Shoes have been cast aside and stockinged feet cut short. This is a moment off-guard, and recalls the conseils of Degas: ‘He said that painters too much made of women formal portraits, whereas their hundred and one gestures, their chatteries, &c., should inspire an infinite variety of design...’ Sickert handles the paint loosely, with cursory brushstrokes reflecting the influence of photography. Against the subdued browns and greens, dabs of white and yellow reveal a direct light source, illuminating the woman’s neck and shoulders and picking out the crumples in her breeches.
Painted some time into World War I, this sketchy piece taps into the contemplative mood of Brighton Pierrots, from the same period. Sickert was once more working in a studio at 8 Fitzroy Street, and was revisiting the subject of a similar, more finished painting from 1906, Fancy Dress, Miss Beerbolm(now in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool). Marie Beerbolm was a specialist in fancy dress, but more likely the provider of the costume than the sitter. An inscription on one of the two related drawings from 1906 indicates that the sitter was in fact her sister, Agnes, who had been a good friend of Sickert’s since the 1890s.
The title therefore is misleading, but this is not entirely out of keeping with techniques for deflecting attention within the composition. The corner of the couch, at an angle to the picture plane, points to the crotch at the centre; the idea of juncture seems to be at the heart of the picture. The striped upholstery was absent in the original drawings, and its criss-crossing adds a complicating element. So too have the legs been extended beyond the edges, emphasising the splayed direction of the woman’s slouch. A door forks off, stage-right, suggestive of other things going on elsewhere. These serve to divert the focus away from the person, who is a stand-in for a more general mood.
W. Sickert, ‘Degas’, Burlington Magazine, November 1917, in Anna Greutzner-Robins, ed., Walter Sickert: the complete Writings on Art(Oxford University Press, 2000), p.415
- Accession Number P107
- Dimensions 49.5 X 39.4 CM
- Media OIL ON CANVAS
To form material such as molten metal, liquid plaster or liquid plastic into a three-dimensional shape, by pouring into a mould. Also see Lost-wax casting.
The arrangement of elements or details in an artefact or a work of art.
Work of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is a tightly stretched piece of canvas, paper or a wooden panel. Painting involves a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's intellectual concerns effecting the content of a work.
- Italy, Rome, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni
- UK, Plymouth, Plymouth City Museum And Art Gallery
- Scotland, Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
- UK, Hull, Ferens Art Gallery
- Romania, Palace Of Culture
- Romania, Bucharest, National Gallery
- Slovakia, Bratislava, Mirbach Palace & Palffy Palace
- Czechoslovakia, Prague, ULUV Exhibition Hall
- Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum
- Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum
- Mauritius, Mauritius
- South Africa, Port Elizabeth, King George VI Art Gallery
- Dar Es Salaam
- Rhodesia, Ndola
- Uganda, Kampala, British Council Office - Kampala
- Kenya, Mombassa, Mombassa
- Kenya, Nairobi, National Gallery And Museum
- Norway, Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus
- Denmark, Copenhagen, Kunstforeningen
- Ceylon, Colombo, Ceylon Art Gallery
- New Zealand, Auckland, Aukland City Art Gallery
- New Zealand, Wellington, National Art Gallery
- New Zealand, Dunedin, Dunedin Public Art Gallery
- New Zealand, Christchurch, Robert Mcdougall Art Gallery
- UK, London, New Burlington Galleries