Walter Richard Sickert A.R.A. (British, 1860-1942)
Study for 'Théâtre de Montmartre' signed with initials and inscribed 'Théatre Montparnasse' (lower left) chalk 24 x 30 cm. (9 1/2 x 11 3/4 in.)
PROVENANCE: with Abbott & Holder, London, March 1992 Private Collection, U.K.
As Wendy Baron has noted, this drawing was mistitled by Sickert as the 'Théâtre de Montparnasse'. It actually depicts the Théâtre de Montmatre. The reason for this discrepancy is partly due to Sickert's habit of signing and inscribing his drawings years after he had made them. This example, drawn in Paris in autumn 1906, was one of many signed and inscribed by Sickert during the middle 1920s with the formula 'Rd St A.R.A.' to acknowledge his election as Associate of the Royal Academy in 1924 and adoption of his middle name 'Richard' in preference to 'Walter'. The drawing is clearly related to the oil painting Théâtre de Montmartre (Keynes Collection, King's College Cambridge, on loan to Fitzwilliam Museum, see Wendy Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, Yale University Press, 2006, cat. 285, pp. 333-4, rep. in colour). In his letters to William Rothenstein dating from autumn 1906 (Baron 2006, pp.63, 64), Sickert wrote of the Parisian music halls and specifically mentioned the Montmartre theatre: 'I want another fortnight here to finish 4 or 5 pictures as good as Noctes Ambrosianae, only red and blue places, instead of black ones. The Eldorado, the Gaieté Rochechouart, the théâtre de Montmartre.' The Théâtre de Montmartre was located at 7 rue Coustou and survives as the Théâtre de l'Atelier.
We are grateful to Wendy Baron for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.