Walter Richard Sickert

Ennui

c.1914

Artist
Walter Richard Sickert 1860–1942
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1524 × 1124 mm
frame: 1741 × 1340 × 110 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1924
Reference
N03846

Display caption

The title of this painting means ‘boredom’ in French. Sickert suggests the strained relationship between the figures by their lack of communication. Despite being close together, the man and woman face in opposite directions, staring off into space. They appear almost trapped in their surroundings. The furnishings reinforce the theme, in particular the bell jar containing stuffed birds, suggesting a suffocating environment. Sickert’s works give us no moral or narrative certainty. He leaves it up to us to interpret the image.

Gallery label, August 2020

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