A Collection of CollectionsA Collection of Collections

Post-War Figurative Art

Since the Second World War many artists have chosen to engage with a tradition of figurative painting based on perception. The human figure and the physical and social world have been central concerns of the work of these artists. Although Walter Sickert died in 1942, his artistic legacy remained strong following the Second World War. Sickert’s use of press photographs as source material for his late works, such as Gwen Ffrangçon-Davies as 'The Lady with the Lamp' (1932-34) provided a stimulus for artists such as Michael Andrews and the Pop Artists of the 1960s. Sickert had taught David Bomberg who, in turn, was a highly influential tutor to students such as Frank Auerbach at the Borough Polytechnic in London. Bomberg urged his students to aim not for accuracy or finish but to search for what he called 'the spirit in the mass.'

In marked contrast, William Coldstream placed emphasis on the close observation and measurement of the subject and had a great respect for tradition. Coldstream was a highly influential teacher at the Slade School of Art, where his students included Michael Andrews, Peter de Francia, Colin Self, and Victor Willing. Andrews’s iconic painting ‘Colony Room 1’ provides a remarkable record of London’s artistic bohemia, including the artists Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, at the infamous Soho drinking club.

Key works include: 'Colony Room 1' (1962) by Michael Andrews and 'Last Self-Portrait' (1956) by David Bomberg.