Painting and transgressing
From October 14
to January 29
Avenue Winston Churchill – 75008 Paris
This very first major retrospective in France dedicated to the English painter Walter Sickert put on the spotlight this resolutely modern artist, who chose enigmatic and often perturbing subjects. Poorly represented in French collections he had a decisive impact on English figurative painting, notably that of Lucian Freud.
The Petit Palais has partnered with the Tate Britain to present the very first major retrospective in France dedicated to the English painter Walter Sickert. This resolutely modern artist, who chose enigmatic and often perturbing subjects, is poorly represented in French collections. This despite the fact that Sickert forged artistic and personal ties with many French artists and brought to England a manner of painting shaped by the time he spent in Paris. The exhibition is therefore an opportunity to (re)discover a unique artist who had a decisive impact on English figurative painting, notably that of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.
Little Dot Harrington at the Old Bedford
© James Mann / Collection particulière
Very provocative, in the context of a relatively corseted English academic art, Walter Sickert painted unusual subjects such as music hall scenes, or later, de-eroticised nudes stripped of all glamour in poor Camden Town interiors.
His contemporaries were struck by the artist’s choice of colours – as virtuoso as strange, inherited from training with Whistler – and disconcerting framing. From 1890, Sickert travelled more regularly to Paris and Dieppe, eventually settling in the seaside resort from 1898 to 1905. He was heavily influenced by the French art scene and became close to Edgar Degas, Jacques-Émile Blanche, Pierre Bonnard, Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.
At the end of his career, between the two world wars, Sickert innovated by turning news photographs into paintings, a process largely taken up in the 1950s by artists. While he never crossed the threshold into abstraction, Sickert unceasingly provoked the art world and the public with his iconographic and pictorial inventions. Indeed, the legacy of his art is the lasting mark it left on the work of many artists for generations to come, notably that of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.
Black Bird of Paradise
© Leeds Museums and Galleries, UK / Bridgeman Images
The exhibition is organised with Tate Britain and Petit Palais, Paris Musées.
Curation of the Tate Britain
Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain
Emma Chambers, Curator, Modern British Art, Tate Britain
Caroline Corbeau-Parsons, Curator of Drawings, Musée d’Orsay and former Curator, British Art, 1850-1915 at Tate Britain
Thomas Kennedy, Assistant Curator, Modern British Art, Tate Britain
Curation of the Petit Palais
Annick Lemoine, General Curator, Director of the Petit Palais
Delphine Lévy, Director of Paris Musées (2013-2020)
Clara Roca, Curator in charge of 19th- and 20th-century graphic arts collections and photography at Petit Palais