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An image of The interval before Round Ten by William Roberts

William Roberts

(England 05 Jun 1895 – 20 Jan 1980)

The interval before Round Ten
Media category
Materials used
oil on canvas

92.1 x 122.5 cm stretcher; 114.0 x 144.2 x 6.8 cm frame

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London 1965
Accession number
© William Roberts Society
Not on display
Further information

According to the conventional lineage of modernist art history, vorticism was the English progeny of cubism and futurism. Among its youngest adherents was the author of this robotic report of a boxing match. By the time he painted it, however, William Roberts had already passed through and abandoned the extremes of vorticist practice in favour of a less radical academic cubism. Even so, 'The interval before Round Ten' is a painting imbued with the edgy virility so loved by the vorticists, as indeed by futurists such as Marinetti. Aggression in human behaviour is given visual form in the agitated activity and angular arrangements of Roberts design. And design is the right word for this deliberately anti-naturalist composition. The ferocity Roberts brought to bear on his subjects is akin to caricature. Little fellow-feeling softens his vision of the all-male madness of pugilism, though the painter delighted in it all the same. Fernand Leger's interests in proletarian themes, and something of his tubular style, infiltrate Roberts's work.

AGNSW Handbook, 1999.

Provenance (3)

Sir Osbert Sitwell, London/England, Commissioned by Sitwell

Dr H. Widdup, 07 Feb 1947-1963, Purchased by Dr Widdup from Christie's London, 7 February 1947, lot no. 62, bequeathed to Contemporary Art Society, London 1963

Contemporary Art Society, London, 1963-Jul 1965, London/England, Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, London 1965. Received 1967.

Bibliography (13)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 43 (colour illus.).

Arts Council of Great Britain, William Roberts ARA: Retrospective Exhibition, London, 1965. 6

Edmund Capon and Jan Meek (Editors), Portrait of a Gallery, 'European 20th Century Art', pg. 91-95, Sydney, 1984, 91.

René Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 55.

Renee Free, Art and Australia [vol. 10, no. 1], 'European Collection', p.63-75, Sydney, Jul 1972, 75 (illus.).

Renée Free, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 160 (colour illus.).

Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 169 (illus.).

Andrew Gibbon Williams, William Roberts: An English Cubist, 'Back to Bohemia', pg.48-72, Hampshire, 2004, 52, 54 (colour illus.). fig.31

Ted Gott, Laurie Benson and Sophie Matthiesson, Modern Britain 1900-1960, Melbourne, 2007, 69 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Western Collection: Paintings and Sculpture', pg. 17-77, Sydney, 1999, 56 (colour illus.).

Anne Kirker and Peter Tomory, British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 26 (colour illus.), 152. 1875

Clem Lloyd and Peter Sekuless, Australia's national collections, North Ryde, 1980, 256 (illus.).

Editor Unknown (Editor), 1967 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1967. 51

Exhibition history (3)

Recent purchases by the Contemporary Art Society, Arts Council Gallery, London, London, 18 Jul 1964–08 Aug 1964

William Roberts, ARA: retrospective exhibition:

Modern Britain 1900-1960, NGV: International, Melbourne, 15 Nov 2007–24 Feb 2008