Pavel Tchelitchew 1898-1957
N06236 Mrs R.A. Gorer 1930
Inscribed 'P. Tchelitchew 1930' b. centre
Gouache on paper mounted on millboard, 39 ¾ x 27 (101 x 68.5)
Presented in memory of Rée Alice Gorer 1873-1954 by her sons Geoffrey, Peter and Richard Gorer 1954
Prov: Mrs R.A. Gorer, London
Exh: Paintings, Gouaches, Drawings by Pavel Tchelitchew, Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, February-March 1933 (21)
Tchelitchew met Geoffrey Gorer at Gertrude Stein's in Paris about Christmas 1926 and they became close friends. Geoffrey Gorer and his mother helped with the preparations for Tchelitchew's one-man show at the Claridge Gallery in 1928 which the artist himself was unable to attend because of ill-health, and when Tchelitchew came to London in 1929 he was invited to stay at Mrs Gorer's house in Highgate. There he met her for the first time and became friends, remaining friends until her death, although he last saw her in 1940. He stayed with the Gorer family two or three times; they had many interests in common.
The idea of making a portrait of Mrs Gorer came from Tchelitchew. He had already painted several portraits of Edith Sitwell, who was a great friend of hers, and Edith Sitwell encouraged the suggestion. The portrait was painted in the 'schoolroom' of Mrs Gorer's house at Highgate, 'The Elms', Fitzroy Park, in 1930. Tchelitchew said he was very anxious to succeed, because she was not only the mother of a great friend, but herself a great friend, who had received him like her own son.
(This note is based on a letter of 27 October 1956 from the artist and letters of 23 February 1955 and 13 June 1959 from Geoffrey Gorer).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.716, reproduced p.716