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On Display

Walter Sickert (1860-1942)

The Juvenile Lead

Before training as an artist Sickert had a brief career as an actor. Throughout his life he enjoyed playing different roles, sometimes radically altering his appearance by shaving his head or growing a bushy beard. In his self portraits Sickert is often acting a part: the glasses worn here are a prop, giving him a vulnerable air despite the sharp eye behind.

This painting was once simply called The Man in the Bowler Hat. Sickert described it as a 'punching ball', a searching self-examination of his middle-aged self. He later renamed it The Juvenile Lead referring to his past on the stage and his present situation as a successful and influential painter.

Mediumoil on canvas
Dimensions510mm x 458mm
Acquisition NumberSOTAG : 1402
Credit LinePurchased in 1951 through the Frederick William Smith Bequest Fund

Other works by this artist