William Scott

Seated Nude


Not on display

William Scott 1913–1989
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 507 × 400 mm
frame: 643 × 548 × 98 mm
Presented by Mr and Mrs Eugene Rosenberg through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1968

Display caption

This was one of a series of seated figures Scott painted in Brittany in 1938-9.
The model for it was the artist's wife. Scott painted her at Pont-Aven in the summer of 1939. The painting has a directness and simplicity that conveys a feeling of innocence. At the time all Scott's paintings were done from life and show his interest in such artists as Derain, Modigliani and Cézanne. He related the directness of his paint handling here to the work of Matisse and the figure seems to relate to Matisse's primitivistic portrayals of nudes in landscape of about 1907-8.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

William Scott b.1913
T01096 SEATED NUDE 1939
Inscribed ‘W. SCOTT/39’ b.r.
Presented by Mr and Mrs Eugene Rosenberg, through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1968.
Coll: Sold by the artist through the Leger Gallery 1942; Basil Jonzen; Piccadilly Gallery, sold to Eugene Rosenberg in 1956.
Exh: Leger Gallery, September 1942 (?3); Art Exhibitions Bureau Tour, Some Modern Trends in British Painting (108); Salford Museum & Art Gallery, July–August 1949; Art Gallery, Huddersfield, August–September 1949; Museum & Art Gallery, Doncaster, December 1949; Castle Museum, Nottingham, January–February 1950; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, April–May 1950 (60).

The artist wrote 10 May 1969: ‘Painted in Pont Aven Summer 1939 ... It was painted from my wife and was one of a group of small paintings of figures that were influenced I think at that time by Corot, the colour low toned soft greys but the actual painting was direct in the Matisse cum Marquet style of the 1939/40... All my pictures at this time whether figure, still life or landscape were painted direct from life. I was I think (subconsciously) in my painting at this time re-acting against both cubism (abstraction) and sur-realism that were fashionable in London and Paris in the late 30s in this sense I was in a way linked to the Euston Rd School but closer to French than English thinking’.

T01096 is one of a series of seated figures, nude and draped, which Scott painted in Brittany in 1938–9 and to which he returned when he took up painting again after the war. One of these post-war paintings is entitled ‘A Memory of Corot’ a fact which emphasizes the point made by Scott in the statement quoted above, but not made by his biographers, that he was influenced by Corot as well as by Derain, Cézanne, etc.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery: Acquisitions 1968-9, London 1969

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