Walter Richard Sickert

Ennui

c.1914

On display at Tate Modern

Artist
Walter Richard Sickert 1860–1942
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1524 x 1124 mm
frame: 1741 x 1340 x 110 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1924
Reference
N03846

Display caption

The title means ‘boredom’ in French. Sickert suggests the dislocated relationship between the figures by their lack of communication and their surroundings. Despite their close physical proximity, the man and woman face in opposite directions, staring off into space. The room furnishings reinforce the theme, in particular the bell jar containing stuffed birds. This is a marriage suffocating with boredom. Sickert’s works provide neither moral nor narrative certainty; which he leaves the viewer to supply.

Gallery label, May 2007

Catalogue entry