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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.

May 2007