Walter Richard Sickert

The Servant of Abraham


Not on display

Walter Richard Sickert 1860–1942
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 610 × 508 mm
frame: 815 × 717 × 78 mm
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1959

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

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