Sickert in Venice
- Places together Sickert’s paintings of Venice, central to his development as an artist, for the first time, filling an important gap in the life and works of this extraordinary artist
- Encompasses 60 of Sickert’s Venice paintings and drawings, split thematically between two principal sections – ‘Views and Vistas’ and ‘Portraits, Figures and Nudes’, as well as smaller sections devoted to Sickert’s Nocturnes and to an examination of his drawings and working practice
Walter Sickert was one of the most important British artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Pupil of Whistler and ffriend of Degas, Renoir and Manet, he introduced impressionism and post-impressionism to a younger generation of British painters. We tend to think of Sickert as a painter inextricably identified with London, but the crucible in which his mature work was formed was Venice. In a period of personal setback and hardship, including the collapse of his marriage, he worked through ideas that would prepare him as the godfather of Modern British art. Between 1895 and 1903 Sickert produced highly impressive views of Venice’s grand vistas and buildings, treated in his own distinctive version of impressionism. Then, during his visit of 1903-04, he moved in a wholly new direction. Experimenting with combinations of figures in interiors, he created evocative mood studies in which narrative is suppressed and the viewer is forced into the role of voyeur, discovering the formula that would be the basis of Camden Town painting, inspiring a new generation of painters.
Robert Upstone is Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain.