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)
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
© Estate of the Artist, courtesy Marlborough Fine Art, London
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Victor Pasmore, The Redfern Gallery, London, Nov 1947–Dec 1947
British and French paintings drawings and sculpture 1895 - 1993 from Browse and Darby, Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst, 04 Mar 1994–23 Mar 1994
Unknown, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester, Unknown–Unknown
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
Victor Pasmore, Manchester, Unknown. cat.no 5
British and French Paintings Drawings & Sculpture 1895 - 1993 from Browse & Darby, Sydney, 1994, (illus.). cat.no 11