William Roberts

The Char


Not on display

William Roberts 1895–1980
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 432 × 330 mm
Presented by Lord Duveen 1926

Display caption

Before the First World War William Roberts was a Vorticist, producing almost abstract paintings that evoked the energy of the modern city. After serving in the war he painted scenes of everyday life. Typically, his figures are reduced to simple forms, so that their bodies and limbs are tubular and their faces almost caricatures.Having painted scenes of leisure and pleasure such as restaurants and cinemas, Roberts took an increasingly wry and humorous look at human behaviour. This image of women gossiping while another cleans her front step and men look on would have been a typical street scene.

Gallery label, July 2007

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Catalogue entry

N04148 THE CHAR c. 1923–4

Inscr. ‘Roberts.’ t.r.
Canvas, 17×13 (43×33).
Presented by Lord Duveen 1926.
Coll: Purchased from the artist by Sir Joseph (later Lord) Duveen 1924.
Repr: William Roberts, Paintings 1917–1958, 1960, p.31, as 1923.

The artist wrote (1 August 1951) that this picture was painted, to the best of his knowledge, in 1924. A squared-up drawing for it is reproduced in Drawing and Design, II, 1927, p.129.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II


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