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La toilette

circa 1946


Victor Pasmore


03 Dec 1908 - 23 Jan 1998


Although later becoming a renowned Constructivist and Abstract painter, Victor Pasmore's artistic career was dominated by figurativism in the 1940s. With four other English painters, Pasmore co-founded the Euston Road School in 1937, advocating the relevance and universalism of art through naturalism and realism and, despite the school closing in 1939 such principles influenced Pasmore's figurative career. His paintings in this style most commonly feature the English landscape or studies of one or more people, and space is often divided by horizontal rectangles or lines.

In the case of ‘La toilette’, an elegantly dressed woman is shown with brush in hand, in front of a background divided by flat brown colour and the creamy white of the bed she sits upon. Unlike Pasmore's ‘The Suffragettes’ 1943-44 (AGNSW collection), in which design and line provide movement in a painting of stalled figures, in ‘La toilette’ the simple division of the painting into horizontal halves creates a stillness which contrasts with the woman's fluid movement and energy.

Not only was Pasmore one the most exceptional figurative painters of the twentieth century, but his later exploration of Abstract art was described by art critic Herbert Read as "the most revolutionary event in post-war British art", and following this Pasmore became a pioneer of the Constructivist revival in Britain. (EF)



circa 1946

Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


70.3 x 34.2 cm sight; 90.7 x 55.3 x 7.3 cm frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Sam Hughes Memorial Fund 1994


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Victor Pasmore

Works in the collection


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Eric Dugdale, 1947-01 Jul 1993, England, Purchased from the exhibition Victor Pasmore, Redfern Gallery, London Oct-Nov 1947. Sold by 'The Trustees of Mrs C.E.S. Dugdale's Voluntary Settlement' at Christie's London, 1 July 1933, lot no. 116, £7,800 (US$11,300)

Browse & Darby, 01 Jul 1993?-29 Aug 1994, London/England, Presumably purchased from the Christie's sale

Robin Gibson Gallery, pre 29 Aug 1994, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, Purchased by the AGNSW from Robin Gibson Gallery 1994. Purchased from the exhibition 'British and French paintings drawings and sculpture 1895 - 1993 from Browse and Darby' 4 - 23 March 1994

Referenced in 2 publications


Manchester City Art Gallery, Victor Pasmore, Manchester, Unknown. 5

Robin Gibson Gallery, British and French Paintings Drawings & Sculpture 1895 - 1993 from Browse & Darby, Sydney, 1994, (illus.). 11