Walter Richard Sickert

England / 1860 - 1942 / wikipedia /
Photo: Walter Sickert, photograph by George Charles Beresford, 1911

Walter Richard Sickert (31 May 1860 – 22 January 1942); English painter and printmaker who was a member of the Camden Town Group in London. He was an important influence on distinctively British styles of avant-garde art in the 20th century.

Sickert was a cosmopolitan and eccentric who often favored ordinary people and urban scenes as his subjects. His oeuvre also included portraits of well-known personalities and images derived from press photographs. He is considered a prominent figure in the transition from Impressionism to Modernism.

...For his earliest paintings, Sickert followed Whistler's practice of rapid, wet-in-wet execution using very fluid paint. He subsequently adopted a more deliberate procedure of painting pictures in multiple stages, and "attached a great deal of importance to what he called the 'cooking' side of painting". He preferred to paint not from nature but from drawings or, after the mid-1920s, from photographs or from popular prints by Victorian illustrators. After transferring the design to canvas by the use of a grid, Sickert made a rapid underpainting using two colors, which was allowed to dry thoroughly before the final colors were applied. He experimented tirelessly with the details of his method, always with the goal, according to his biographer Wendy Baron, of "paint[ing] quickly, in about two sittings, with the maximum economy and minimum of fuss".

Sickert tended to paint his subjects in series. He is identified particularly with domestic interior scenes, scenes of Venice, music hall and theatre scenes, and portraits. He painted very few still lifes.

...Sickert often professed his distaste for what he termed the "beastly" character of thickly textured paint. In an article he wrote for The Fortnightly Review in 1911, he described his reaction to the paintings of Van Gogh: "I execrate his treatment of the...
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Mona Struthers


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