Sir William Orpen

Anita

1905

Artist
Sir William Orpen 1878–1931
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 760 x 557 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1996
Reference
T07136

Not on display

Display caption

Anita Bartle, the sitter in this early portrait by Orpen, was a journalist and author in Dublin. At the time he painted it, Orpen had just returned from a visit to the Prado in Madrid, where he had studied portrait sketches by Rubens. His training at the Slade in the 1890s had been in drawing rather than painting. He wanted to try a modern version of Rubens's direct technique, and used this portrait of a friend as an exercise. Orpen uses only red, with black and white, and leaves visible the brushstrokes, in the manner of an oil sketch. He later gave the portrait to the sitter as a wedding present.

Gallery label, September 2004

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