Walter Richard Sickert 1860-1942

Walter Richard Sickert
Walter Richard Sickert, born in Munich, Germany, was a painter and printmaker who was recognised during his own lifetime as an important artist, and in the years since his death has increasingly gained a reputation as one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century British art.
Starting out his career as a pupil and assistant to James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Sickert later met Edgar Degas whose use of pictorial space and emphasis on drawing would have an influential effect on Sickert's work. Sickert developed a personal version of Impressionism deploying sombre colouration. He was fascinated by urban culture and consequently worked from studios in working-class areas in London, such as Camden Town, in which location he would create a series of paintings on a local gruesome murder on a prostitute that took place in 1907. This series The Camden Town Murder caused controversy not only because of the title but also due to the lugubrious nudes depicted in the paintings and ensured attention for Sickert's work. He furthermore was a founding member of the Camden Town Group, a group of British painters influenced by Post-Impressionism and Expressionism, concentrating on drab daily domestic scenes. Sickert not only concentrated on domestic scenes; scenes of Venice, music halls, theatre scenes and portraits were also important parts of his body of work. He consistently created his paintings in his studio working from drawings made on the spot and later from news photographs or snap shots.
Sickert was universally acknowledged as a colourful, fascinating and charming artist, who championed progress and modernity in painting, but who remained an independent figure who was difficult to catagorise under the major movements in British art. His status as a notable but underestimated figure changed as his work was reassessed in the second half of the 20th century. Exhibitions in the Hayward Gallery in 1981 and the Royal Academy in 1992, as well as several publications on his work have established Sickert's important contribution to British modernism.

Born in Munich of an Anglo-Irish mother and a Danish-German father.

Family moved to England.

Trained for a career on the stage and toured with Sir Henry Irving's company, playing minor roles. Abandoned this career in 1881.

Entered the Slade School of Fine Arts, but left after one year.

Assistant to Whistler, who taught him the techniques of etching and engraving.

Met and studied with Degas in Paris.

Married Ellen Cobden.

Joined the New English Art Club.

Contributed illustrations, caricatures and portraits to a variety of journals.

Visited Venice for the first time.

Lived in Dieppe, and visited Venice in 1900, 1901 and 1903-04.

Divorced from Ellen.

The Fitzroy Street began informally.

1908-12 and 1915-18
Part-time teacher at Westminster School of Art.

Set up and ran his own etching school, located close to his studio in Camden.

Married Christine Angus.
Founding member of the Camden Town Group.

Lived in Envermeu, near Dieppe.

His wife, Christine, died.

Elected Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. Adopted the name of Richard Sickert.

Married his third wife, artist, Thérèse Lessore.
Taught at Royal Academy Schools.

President of the Royal Society of British Artists.

Elected Royal Academician.

Resigned from Royal Academy in support of Epstein's British Medical Association sculpture.

Moved to Bathampton, near Bath.

Died in Bathampton on 22 January.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Durand-Ruel, Paris

1904, 1907, 1909
Bernheim-Jeune Gallery, Paris

1911, 1912, 1914, 1916
Carfax Gallery, London

1926, 1928, 1930
Savile Gallery, London

Retrospective exhibition, Leicester Galleries, London

Galerie Cardo, Paris

English Echoes, Leicester Galleries, London
1932, 1933, 1935
Beaux Arts Gallery

Thomas Agnew & Sons, London

The Arts Club, Chicago and Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh

Retrospective exhibition, National Gallery, London

Retrospective exhibition, Temple Newsam House, Leeds

Arts Council of Great Britain, London

Museum of Art, Hove

Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London

Arts Council of Great Britain, Edinburgh

Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield

Thomas Agnew & Sons, Centenary loan exhibition, Tate Gallery, London and on tour (Arts Council of Great Britain touring exhibition)

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

Arts Council of Great Britain, Midlands touring exhibition

Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Islington Town Hall, Islington Public Libraries collection

Ferens Art gallery, Hull and tour (Arts Council of Great Britain touring exhibition)

Late Sickert, Hayward Gallery, London and tour (Arts Council of Great Britain touring exhibition)

Tate Gallery, Liverpool

Sickert. Paintings, Royal Academy of Arts, 1993

Selected Bibliography

Amaya, M., 'Walter Sickert: Evolutionary Printmaker', Connoisseur, CC (1979), pp.262-63
Arcangeli, F., essay 'Omaggio a Sickert', Dal Romanticismo all'Informale, Turin, 1971
Armitage, G., 'Scrutinies: 1. Richard Sickert, A.R.A., P.R.B.A.', Arts and Crafts, August 1929, pp.101-09
Auerbach, F., 'Homage to Sickert', The Listener, 14 June 1973, p.807
Ayrton, M., 'An Obscure Person', New Statesman, 28 May 1960
Ayrton, M., 'Sickert's Portrait of Israel Zangwill', The Listener, 18 May 1961, pp.868-70
Baron, W., 'Sickert's links with French painting', Apollo, XCI (1970), pp.186-97
Baron, W., introduction and notes to catalogue of 'Our Own Sickerts', Islington 1970
Baron, W., Sickert, London, 1973
Baron, W., catalogue 'Sickert', London and Edinburgh, FAS 1973
Baron, W., 'Sickert in Dieppe', introduction to Eastbourne and Guildford, 1975 and reprinted in Orbit, I, no.5 (1975), pp. 4-7
Baron, W., essay on Sickert and Bloomsbury in catalogue 'Duncan Grant & Bloomsbury', Edinburgh 1975, The Fine Art Society
Baron, W., catalogue 'Camden Town Recalled', London, FAS 1976
Baron, W., The Camden Town Group, London, 1979
Baron, W., 'The Perversity of Walter Sickert', Arts Magazine, LV (1980), pp.125-29.
Baron, W., 'Sickert and the Camden Town Murder', Art at auction: The Year at Sotheby Parke Bernet 1979-80, London, 1980, pp. 70-73
Baron, W., catalogue 'Late Sickert', London, ACGB 1981-2
Baron, W. and Shone, R., exhibition catalogue Sickert Paintings Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992
Baron, W., 'Sickert and Beyond', From Life, exhibition catalogue, James Hyman Fine Art, 10 September - 18 October 2003
Bell, C., catalogue preface to London, Eldar Gallery 1919
Bell, C., 'Sickert at the National Gallery', New Statesman and Nation, 6 September 1941
Bell, C., Old Friends: Personal Recollections, London, 1956
Bell, Q., 'Sickert in Edinburgh', The Listener, 12 February 1953, p.272
Bell, Q., 'Sickert at the Tate Gallery', The Listener, 2 June 1960, p.931
Bell, Q., 'The Camden Town Group 1: Sickert and the Post Impressionists', Motif 10, 1962-63
Bell, Q., 'The Camden Town Group 11: Opposition and Composition', Motif II, 1963-64
Bell, Q., Chapter: 'Sickert and the Post Impressionists', Victorian Artists, London, 1967
Bell, Q., 'Some memories of Sickert', The Burlington Magazine, CXXIX (1987), pp.226-31
Bertrani, A. Sickert, London, 1955
Blanche, J.-E., catalogue preface to Paris, Bernheim Jeune 1904
Blanche, J.-E., Portraits of a Lifetime: 'The Late Victorian Era. The Edwardian Pageant. 1870-1914, London, 1937
Blanche, J.-E., More Portraits of a Lifetime. 1918-1938. London, 1939
Blunt, A., 'Walter Richard Sickert', Britain Today, no.63, 3 October 1941, pp.8-11
Borenius, T., 'Walter Sickert and The Whirlwind', Soho Centenary, n.d. pp.22-24
Bowness, A. and Farr, D., 'Historical Note', preface to the London Group Jubilee Exhibition, London, Tate Gallery, 1964
Bradshaw, J., 'A Group of Paintings by Sickert and a Portrait by Ellen Heath', Leeds Art Calendar, 53, 1964, pp. 12-15
Bromberg, R., Walter Sickert, prints : a catalogue raisonne?, New Haven, 2000
Brown, F., 'Recollections: The Early Years of the New English Art Club', Artwork, VI (1930), pp.269-78
Browse, L., Sickert, London,1943
Browse, L., Sickert, London,1960
Browse, L., 'A newly discovered Sickert', Connoisseur, CLXIX (1968), pp 9-11
Browse, L., 'Departure or Decline? A Personal View of Sickert's Late Work', Country Life, CLXXII, 9 December 1982, pp.1890-91
Connolly, C., 'Degas of Camden Town', Sunday Times, 29 May 1960
Constantine, H.F., 'Sickert in Sheffield', The Burlington Magazine, XCIX (1957) pp. 346-47
Dempsey, A., 'Whistler and Sickert: a friendship and its end', Apollo, LXXXIII (1966), pp.30-37
Dimson, W., 'Four Sickert Exhibitions', The Burlington Magazine, CII (1960), pp.439-43
Dimson, W., 'The Identification of Sickert's Rehearsal: The End of the ActThe Burlington Magazine, CVII (1965), p.575
Earp, T. W., 'The Work of Richard Sickert, A.R.A.', Apollo, XI (1930), pp.295-300
Earp, T. W., 'Richard Sickert: English Echoes', Apollo, XIII (1931) pp. 344 -47
Emmons, R., The Life and Opinions of Walter Richard Sickert, London,1941
Farr, D., English Art 1870-1940, Oxford, 1978
Forge, A., 'The Confident Artist', The Listener, 16 June 1960, pp.1051-53
Forge, A., 'An Appreciation', preface to the London Group Jubilee Exhibition, London, Tate Gallery, 1964
Fosca, F., 'Walter-Richard Sickert', L.'Amour de l'Art, no.II, 1930, pp.1-6
Free, R., Art Gallery of New South Wales Catalogue of British Paintings, 1984
Fry, R., 'Mr Walter Sickert's Pictures at the Stafford Gallery', Nation, 8 July 191 1. p.536
Fry, R., 'Walter Sickert A.R.A., New Statesman, 17 January 1925
Gaunt, W., 'The Etched work of W. Richard Sickert', Creative Art, 4, (May 1929), pp. 336-40
Gaunt, W., The Aesthetic Adventure, London, 1945
Gayford, M., 'Sickert and Bloomsbury', Charleston Magazine, 4, 1991-92, pp.33-38
Godfrey, R., introductory essay to Gordon Cooke, Prints by Walter Sickert, London, 1988.
Haines, R., 'Walter Richard Sickert 1860-1942', Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, X, no. I (1968), pp.422-31.
Halévy, D., catalogue preface to the Dieppe exhibition, 1954
Hamnett, N., Laughing Torso, London, 1932
Harrison, C., English Art and Modernism l900-1939, London and Indiana, 1981
Heron, P., 'Apropos of Sickert, Keene and Cézanne', The Changing Forms of Art, London, 1955, pp.249-53
Islington Public Libraries, Walter Richard Sickert 1860-1942, ed. C.A. Elliott
Hyman, J., 'Walter Sickert', Royal Academy Magazine, Winter 1992
Hyman, J., The Battle for Realism, Yale University Press, 2001
Hyman, J., 'Radical Figuration', From Life, exhibition catalogue, James Hyman Fine Art, 10 September - 18 October 2003
Jamot, P., 'Sickert', La Chronique des Arts et de la Curiosité, 19 January 1907
Jonzen, B., 'A Visit to Mr. Sickert at Broadstairs', Horizon, VIII, no. 45 (1943), pp.194-203
Juler, C., 'The Source for Sickert's High SteppersThe Burlington Magazine, CXXV (1983), p.619
Kennedy, B., 'Sickert: A hitherto untraced version of Suspense,' The Burlington Magazine, CXXIII (1981), pp.675f
Kozloff, M., Chapter: 'Sickert's Unsentimental Journey', The Grand Eccentrics, ed. T.B. Hess and J. Ashbery, New York, 1966, pp.149-160 (reprinted Art News (USA), April 1967, pp.51-53 and pp.71-72).
Laidley, W.J., The Origins and First Two Years of the New English Art Club, London, 1907.
Lessore, H., 'Sickert's Late Work', essay in London et al., ACGB 1981-82
Lilly, M. Sickert: The Painter and his Circle, London, 1971
MacColl, D.S., 'Walter Sickert', Spectator, 2 March 1895
MacColl, D.S., 'The New English Art Club', Studio, CXXIX (1945), pp.65-73
Manson, J.B., 'Walter Richard Sickert, A.R.A.', Drawing and Design, III (1927), pp.3-9
Moore, G., review of Sickert's essay 'Modern Realism in Painting', The Speaker, 20 February 1892
Morphet, R., 'The Modernity of Late Sickert', Studio International, CXC (1975), pp.35-38.
Morphet, R., 'Late Sickert, then and now', essay in London, ACGB 1981-82
Morris ed., L., Walter Richard Sickert. Advice to Young Artists (a selection of Sickert's writings), Norwich, 1986
Murray Middleton, J., 'The Etchings of Walter Sickert', The Print Collector's Quarterly, X (1925), pp. 31-60
O'Connor, P., Reunion of Stage and Art': Sickert and the Theatre between the Wars', Sickert Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992
Osborne, C., 'My Memories of Walter Sickert', St Pancras Journal, VIII, no. II (1955), pp.184-86
Pickvance, R., 'The Magic of the Halls and Sickert', Apollo, LXXVI (1962), pp.107-15
Pickvance, R., 'Sickert and Brighton', Apollo, LXXVI (1962), pp.404-05
Pickvance, R., catalogue preface to Northampton, ACGB 1964
Pickvance, R., 'Sickert', The Masters series no.86, 1967.
Powell, A., 'The Servant of Abraham', Apollo, XCV (1972), pp.226.
Gruetzner Robins, A., 'Degas and Sickert: Notes on their friendship', The Burlington Magazine, CXXX (1988), pp.225-29
Gruetzner Robins, A., 'British Impressionism: The Magic and Poetry of Life Around Them', pp.70-9I, World Impressionism. The International Movement,1860-1920, New York, 1990
Gruetzner Robins, A., 'Sickert 'Painter-in-Ordinary' to the Music Hall', Sickert Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992
Gruetzner Robins, A. (ed.), Walter Sickert. the complete writings on art, Oxford, 2000
Rothenstein, J., The Artists of the 1890s, London, 1928
Rothenstein, J., Chapter in Modern English Painters: Sickert to Smith, London, 1952
Rothenstein, J., Sickert, London, 1961
Rothenstein, J., 'Two Visits to Sickert', London Magazine, February-March 1976, pp.113-17
Rutter, F., Some Contemporary Artists, London, 1922
Rutter, F., Evolution in Modern Art: A Study of Modern Painting 1870-1925, London, 1926
Rutter, F., preface to catalogue of Camden Town Group, London, Leicester Galleries 1930
Seddon, R., 'The Technical Methods of Richard Sickert', Apollo, XXXVIII (1943), p.173 (reprinted as preface to Sheffield 1957).
Shone, R., 'Duncan Grant on a Sickert lecture', The Burlington Magazine, CXXIII (1981), pp.671-72
Shone, R., 'Late Sickert at the Hayward', The Burlington Magazine, CXXIV (1982), pp.51-53
Shone, R., Walter Sickert, Oxford, 1988
Shone, R., 'Walter Sickert, the Dispassionate Observer', Sickert Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1992
Sickert, W. R., A Free House! London, 1947
Stephenson, W.H., Sickert: the Man and his Art: Random Reminiscences, Southport, 1940
Sutton, D., Walter Sickert, London, 1976
Tate Gallery, Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, 2, London, 1964
Tavernier, A., catalogue preface to Paris, Bernheim Jeune 1909
Thornton, A., 'Walter Richard Sickert', Artwork, VI (1930) pp.1-1 8
Troyen, A., catalogue, New Haven 1979
Wedmore, F., Chapter 'Walter Sickert' in Some of the Moderns, London, 1909
Welch, D., 'Sickert at St Peter's', essay first published in Horizon, 32, August 1942, pp.91-97 and collected in A Last Sheaf, London, 1951, pp.11-17 (reprinted in London ACGB 1981-81)
Wilenski, R.H., 'Sickert's Art', essay in Browse, 1943
Willett, J., 'Rendez-vous à Dieppe', essay in Brighton 1992
Woolf, V., Walter Sickert: a Conversation, London, 1934. New edition with introduction by R. Shone, London, 1992.

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