David Bomberg

Lilian Painting David (Painting Lilian)

1929

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 660 x 514 mm
frame: 742 x 596 x 78 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Lilian Bomberg, the artist's second wife 1982
Reference
T03338

Display caption

This portrait shows Bomberg’s second wife, Lilian, painting him at the same time as he is painting her. She later wrote, ‘We recognized the total commitment to art in each other’. The portrait that Lilian Bomberg was painting at the same time no longer exists. Portraits of artists’ lovers abound in art. But here Bomberg chooses to portray his wife as a working artist, rather than as his muse. Bomberg had recently returned from Toledo where, influenced by El Greco, a sixteenth-century Greek artist who worked in Spain, he developed a loose and expressive style which characterised his later work.

Gallery label, October 2016

Catalogue entry

T03338 LILIAN PAINTING DAVID PAINTING LILIAN 1929

Inscribed ‘Bomberg’ bottom right and ‘Lilian painting David (painting Lilian) by David Bomberg 1928’ on stretcher
Oil on canvas, 26 × 20 1/4 (66 × 51.4)
Presented by Mrs Lilian Bomberg 1982
Exh: David Bomberg, Paintings and Drawings, Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, September 1960 (34, as ‘Portrait of Lilian 1929’); David Bomberg and Lilian Holt, Reading Museum and Art Gallery, June–July 1971 (43, as ‘Lilian painting David 1929’)

A portrait of the artist's second wife Lilian Holt, painted soon after they had moved to 10 Fordwych Road. The portrait that she was painting at the same time no longer exists.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1980-82: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1984