What is the connection between Jacobus Vrel and William Roberts?

How can there be a connection between a seventeenth century Dutch painter and a twentieth British artist? There are in fact two connections. Firstly, I have only recently discovered both artists. Secondly they are connected by Walter Sickert’s “Miss Earhart’s Arrival”, the subject of yesterday’s blog.

I came across Jacobus Vrel at the “Verneer’s Women” exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge earlier this year. There were three paintings by this artist shown, two of which show the back of the subject just like the crowd in the Sickert.

Jacobus Vrel – Woman at a Window 1654

Jacobus Vrel – Woman at a Window Waving at a Girl c1650

You’re probably wanting to know all about Jacobus Vrel. Well, he was active between about 1650 and 1662 and … er … that’s about it! Nothing else seems to be known about him – no date of birth or death, no place of work – it isn’t even certain he was Dutch.

At least we know a little more about William Roberts whose painting of “The Chess Players” sold for a record £1.2 million last week. According to the Daily Telegraph “This superbly energetic painting, which captures the tension of of the game and turns it into a spectator sport, doubled the artist’s previous record.”

Roberts’s Wikipedia entry states that he studied at ” the Slade School of Art in 1910. His contemporaries included a number of brilliant young students, among them Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Christopher Nevinson, Stanley Spencer and David Bomberg. Later “he was taken up by Wyndham Lewis, who was forming a British alternative to Futurism. Ezra Pound had suggested the name Vorticism, and Roberts’s work was featured in both editions of the Vorticist literary magazine BLAST. Roberts himself, however, later preferred the description ‘Cubist’ for his work of this period.

‘Dancers’ featured in the magazine Blast

According to the William Roberts Society website there will be an exhibition of his work from May 21st until March 2013 at the Tate Britain, which is where I’ll also find Sickert’s Earhart painting so now I’ll have to go when I’m in London at the end of the month.

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About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
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