Past Events

Walter Sickert: The Document and the Documentary


  • 4 December 2015
  • 10:00 – 6:30 pm
  • A conference organised by the Paul Mellon Centre in collaboration with Professor Anna Gruetzner Robins
  • The Paul Mellon Centre, Paul Mellon Centre

Speakers at this one-day conference will present new approaches to the work of the artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942). Recent scholarship has documented his prolific output as a painter, draughtsman, print-maker, and writer on art. It has also highlighted the relationship between his work and aspects of popular culture, including urban entertainment, sensational crime-stories and newspaper photography. The aim of this conference is to build on this work and to think anew about his art and career through using the themes of the document and the aesthetics of the documentary. We are also keen to use this conference to explore the impact of Sickert’s work on his contemporaries, as well as his importance for later generations of artists. His importance for twentieth-century painting and photography in Britain, and beyond, was profound, but has yet to be fully investigated. Sickert's life and career has been obsessively documented but little of his extensive correspondence has been published, and there has been little in-depth analysis of this highly complex artist. This conference also seeks new research on ideas about his writing and biography. The theme of the documentary will also potentially spark new ideas about Sickert’s relationship and use of the press as a documentary tool.

Confirmed Speakers

David Peters Corbett (University of East Anglia)
Martin Hammer (University of Kent)
Carol Mavor (University of Manchester)
Anna Gruetzner Robins (Universtiy of Reading)
Sam Rose (University of Cambridge)
William Rough (University of St Andrews)
Merlin Seller (University of East Anglia)
Emily Talbot (Universtiy of Michigan)

T.J. Clark
Anne Wagner

Caroline Arscott
Grace Brockington
Mark Hallett
Sarah Victoria Turner