Walter Richard Sickert

The Servant of Abraham

1929

On display at Tate Britain

Artist
Walter Richard Sickert 1860–1942
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 610 x 508 mm
frame: 815 x 717 x 75 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1959
Reference
T00259

Display caption

This is, in fact, a self-portrait. Sickert painted himself many times, and during the 1920s he sometimes depicted himself as a biblical figure. He made this at the age of sixty-nine, working from a squared-up photograph which had been taken by his third wife, Therese Lessore. He intended that it should look like part of a larger wall-painting and observed, 'We cannot well have pictures on a large scale nowadays, but we can have small fragments of pictures on a colossal scale'. Abraham was an Old Testament patriarch, but it is not known why Sickert chose this title, or why he felt it applicable to himself.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry