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Exhibition Focuses on Three of the Most Original Painters of the Late 19th and Early 20th-Centuries
Stanley Spencer(1891-1959), "Self-portrait with Patricia Preece" 1937. ©The Estate of Stanley Spencer 2009. All rights reserved DACS 2009.
CAMBRIDGE.- An exhibition at The Fitzwilliam Museum focuses on three of the most original painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries: John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer.

Drawn from The Fitzwilliam Museum’s holdings of paintings, watercolours and drawings by these three artists, which are amongst the finest in the UK, this exhibition offers the chance to explore the ‘hidden depths’ of the Museum’s world-class collections.

At first glance, the lives and careers of these artists appear disparate. Sargent (1856-1925), an American based in Europe, was one of the leading portraitists of his day, whose suave society paintings appeared in sharp contrast to the darker social realism of his contemporary, the German-born ‘London Impressionist’ Sickert (1860-1942) – and even further from the naïve visions of Spencer’s (1891-1959) native Berkshire. Yet, as this exhibition shows, their lives and careers intersected in a number of ways.

Presenting over seventy works, from landscapes and portraiture to interiors and nudes, and including little-seen sketches and studies, Sargent, Sickert, Spencer examines what divided these painters stylistically, and what united them artistically. The exhibition will explore a number of themes:

• Artists on the move: an exploration of these artists’ travels, with images depicting locations as diverse as Jerusalem, Corfu, Sicily and Majorca (Sargent), Paris, Dieppe, London (Sickert) and Sarajevo (Spencer), with particular focus upon Sargent’s and Sickert’s views of Venice

• War zones: depictions of soldiers and military life by Sargent and Spencer and their friends and associates, including Henry Tonks and Muirhead Bone

• Music, music halls and theatres: surveying Sickert’s images of music and performance, set in Paris, London and Dieppe

• Landscapes: a genre each of these artists embarked on with relief or resignation, from Sargent’s Olives in Corfu (1909) to Spencer’s Landscape in North Wales (1938)

• Interiors and the nude: reviewing images such as Sickert’s Mornington Crescent Nude (1907) and Spencer’s Self-Portrait with Patricia Preece (1937), exploring their frequently unsettling depictions of nude female models

• Spencer, God and love: an examination of Spencer’s overarching themes, as explored in such visionary masterpieces as Love Among the Nations (1935-1936) and Love on the Moor (1949-1954)

These works will also be juxtaposed with others from the Museum’s collection, including drawings by Charles Keene, Degas’s depiction of Lyon Cathedral, and Sermons by Artists, a collection of writings by Spencer, Paul Nash and others.

The Fitzwilliam Museum | John Singer Sargent | Walter Sickert | Stanley Spencer |

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