Monday, March 30, 2009

Meet Walter Sickert! 20th Century Man

Avant-garde painter? Jack the Ripper? Fistula sufferer?
Meet Walter Sickert! (1860 – 1942)

Son of Oswald the Danish-German and Eleanor the illegitimate daughter of astronomer Richard Sheepshanks. This son and grandson of painters went off to study…acting. Then, instead, he began to draw. Sickert worked from memory. Why? As a way to escape from “the tyranny of nature.” Ho, ho!

His paintings demonstrate the transition from impressionism to modernism and other 20th century avant garde styles. Confused or failed communication is the theme.

Lord Beaverbrook, the newspaper baron, collected more paintings by Sickert than anyone else in the world. They reside in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. You can visit them in Fredericton today.

One night, back in the day, Walter Sickert lodged in a room that the landlady claimed had been use by Jack the Ripper. Sickert was entranced! He painted “Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom,” among other things.

One day, in the 1970s:
“My Dad was an accomplice to Jack the Ripper!”
—Joseph Sickert, illegitimate child of Walter

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