T00147 SOPHIE BRZESKA 1913
Pastel, 22×15 1/8 (56×38·5).
Purchased from H. S. Ede (Grant-in-Aid) 1957.
Coll: Estate of Miss Sophie Brzeska; purchased from the Treasury by McKnight Kauffer 1927; H. S. Ede.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, May–June 1918 (14, 36 or 73, as ‘Portrait (pastel)’); Orléans, March–April 1956 (48, repr.); Arts Council, 1956–7 (36).
Lit: Gaudier in Ede, 1930, pp.196–7.
Repr: Ede, 1930, pl.20 (in colour); Ede, 1931, facing p.112; Sir John Rothenstein, British Art since 1900, 1962, pl.33.
Sophie Brzeska, a Polish woman, who was studying languages in Paris, met Gaudier in the Sainte-Geneviève Library in 1910. At the time she was thirty-eight and he was eighteen. They became close friends and companions. She went with him to England and he linked her name to his. After his death she had a mental breakdown and died intestate in an asylum in 1922.
This is one of two pastel portraits of her listed by Gaudier under the year 1913. The other one belongs to the Southampton Art Gallery.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I