This painting is one of Sickert’s Camden Town Nudes series, which all feature a nude woman on an iron bedstead. These nudes can be seen as important precursors to those of Freud and Saville, as there is no idealisation in the portrayal of the female body – quite the opposite in fact. Sickert once said that ‘the plastic arts are gross arts, dealing joyously with gross material facts’, and here he presents that materiality of flesh with broad, expressive brushstrokes.
Walter Richard Sickert
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud and a Century of Painting Life
Date of work
Sickert was one of the most influential British artists of this century. He had a direct influence on the style and subject matter of artists in the Camden Town Group and the Euston Road School. Sickert’s active career as an artist lasted for nearly 60 years and his output was vast, including many domestic interiors, portraits, townscapes and theatrical subjects, later basing many of his paintings on photos. He was universally acknowledged throughout his life as a colourful, charming and fascinating character, a catalyst for progress and modernity, yet someone who remained independent of groups, cliques and categories.