David Bomberg

Lilian

1932

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
David Bomberg 1890–1957
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 762 x 559 mm
frame: 849 x 645 x 65 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1959
Reference
T00318

Display caption

David Bomberg produced many portraits of his partner, artist Lilian Holt, during the 1930s. These are notable for their use of vigorous brushstrokes. Holt recalled that, for this half-length portrait, she sat with a black satin dressing-gown around her shoulders and arms because she was shy of posing completely nude. Bomberg required her to pose quite still and in silence, in order that nothing should interrupt his concentration.

Gallery label, November 2016

Catalogue entry

T00318 LILIAN 1932
 
Inscr. ‘Bomberg 32’ b.l.
Canvas, 30×22 (76×56).
Purchased from the artist's widow (Grant-in-Aid) 1959.
Exh: Bloomsbury Gallery, November 1932 (33); National Society, R.I. Gallery, 1933 (310), as ‘Night’; Arts Council, September–October 1958 and provincial tour (22).
Repr: X, A Quarterly Review, I, 1960, facing p.185.

Painted at 10 Fordwych Road, N.W.2, where the artist was then living. Lilian Holt first met him in 1923 and he encouraged her to become a painter. She posed for a number of works and later became his second wife. Another portrait of her was in the National Society, R.I.Gallery, 1933 (320), as ‘Lilian’ and a later one, painted in 1937, was in the Arts Council exhibition, 1958 (35, repr.).

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I