THRESHOLDS

THE BATH

THE BATH

Sir William Orpen (1878 − 1931)

Born in Ireland, Orpen was the society portraitist of his day. He studied at the Slade School of Art, where he was a friend of Augustus John, and for much of his adult life was involved, with John Butler Yeats and John Millington Synge, in the Celtic Revival - an assertion by Ireland's artists and writers of a distinctively Irish character in their arts and letters. He was commissioned as an official war artist in 1917, travelling to the Western Front, where he painted the battle scenes, as well as the official portraits of the military top brass, with panache and efficiency. He also took time to draw the dead and dying troops - both British and German - bringing out a more tender side to this otherwise robust and self-assured Edwardian artist. He was a gifted draughtsman (his talents winning him £20 at the age of 14), as this drawing of a child standing in a tin bath demonstrates. The theme of mother and child was a frequent one following his marriage to Grace Knewstub in 1901, but he was acclaimed in his day for his Kiplingesque depictions of English society (mostly male), and after the Treaty of Versailles he embarked on a commission for over 40 portraits of statesmen and generals. He was knighted in 1918.

Thresholds, British Council 2010

  • Accession Number P2737
  • Dimensions 29.4 X 23.5 CM
  • Media PENCIL AND CRAYON ON PAPER

Glossary

  • Drawing

    The depiction of shapes and forms on a flat surface chiefly by means of lines although colour and shading may also be included. Materials most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayon, charcoal, chalk and pastel, although other materials, including paint, can be used in combination.

Themes (2)

Past exhibitions

MY CHOICE WORKS SELECTED BY PAULA REGO FROM THE BRITISH COUNCIL COLLECTION

  • 2011
    • Portugal, Coimbra, Univesidade de Coimbra, Casa de Caldeiras
    • Portugal, Edp Foundation
    • Portugal, Cascais, Casa Das Historias

THRESHOLDS

  • 2012
    • Macedonia, Skopje, Museum Of Contemporary Art
    • Malta, Valletta, St James Cavalier Centre For Creativity
  • 2010
    • UK, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery

WEU PRESIDENCY EXHIBITIONS

  • 1995
    • Belgium, Brussels, Western European Union

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH DRAWINGS

  • 1949
    • Canada, Edmonton Art Gallery
    • Canada, Victoria, Victoria
  • 1948
    • Canada, Art Gallery Of Ontario
    • Canada, National Gallery Of Canada

EXHIBITION OF WORKS FROM HUGH BLAKER COLLECTION

  • 1948
    • UK, London, Leicester Galleries
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