‘The recent memorial exhibition at the Tate Gallery of works by the late Sir William Rothenstein, held five years after his death, poses a problem that can no longer be avoided. Where exactly does Rothenstein stand in the account of English painting of the first quarter of this century?’ (Home Affairs Survey, August 15th 1950)
On March 14th, The Cartwright Hall Gallery in Bradford will hold a one-day symposium dedicated to the life and work of the artist Sir William Rothenstein (1872-1945), coinciding with the first major exhibition of his work since 1972. The discussion will focus on the question posed above: Where does Rothenstein fit within the narrative/s of late nineteenth and early twentieth century art?
Particular attention will be paid to a series of important cultural encounters that changed the direction of the artist’s life and work. These include: his early training in Paris, turn-of-the-century visits to Spain and Germany, years spent painting in the Jewish East End, his 1910 trip to India, interwar years living in rural Gloucestershire, experiences as a war artist in two World Wars, and his ongoing, sometimes fraught relationship with his home city, Bradford. Although Rothenstein’s life ‘beyond the easel’ will also be discussed (including his roles as critic, collector, patron, gallery-founder and professor), the main aim of the discussion, like the exhibition, will be to put the spotlight on his achievements as a painter, draughtsman and print-maker. Continue reading