Sickert, Walter

Sickert, Walter Biography

German-born English painter, who painted urban life and genre scenes who was the most important of the British Impressionists. He was a pupil of the American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Later, influenced by the coolly analytical paintings of the French artist Edgar Degas, he painted realistic scenes of London theaters, pubs, music halls, and humble interiors. His enthusiasm for his rough, sometimes sordid, subject matter gave many of his pictures verve and excitement.

Walter Sickert was indebted to Degas for the ability to establish a situation merely by the attitudes of the figures. He coupled this with a refreshing vein of satire, as in Ennui (c. 1913). Between 1885 and 1905 Walter Sickert spent most of his summers at Dieppe and worked in Venice. Returning to London in 1905, he became the focus of a group of painters that included Augustus John and Lucien Pissarro, the son of the French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. Through contact with Pissarro, Walter Sickert began to show the influence of Neo-Impressionism in his work. He was a founder of the Camden Town and London groups (1911 and 1913, respectively). Walter Sickert painted at Brighton and Bath in the 1920s and '30s and wrote occasional criticism, supporting Degas's principles of drawing.

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