WALTER SICKERT 1860-1942
The Acting Manager 1884
Etching 9 ¼ x 9 ¼ inches (23.6 x 23.5 cm) plate
This is a portrait of Helen Couper-Black, manager of The D'Oyly Carte Theatre, and subsequently second wife to Richard D'Oyly Carte. Sickert submitted an impression of this work as his Diploma print upon his election as Fellow to the Society of Painter-Etchers on 30 March 1887. He had been deeply committed to the stage, performing in Henry Irving’s company before abandoning theatre for art, a decision he agonised over. In many ways Sickert’s atmospheric artistic subjects of figures in interiors reflected the direction of contemporary avant garde theatre towards greater naturalism in the plays of Chekov, Strindberg and, held in particularly high regard in London, Ibsen.