As a founding member of both the Fitzroy Street Group in 1907 and the ensuing Camden Town Group in 1911, Harold Gilman greatly contributed to the development of art in modern Britain. Although the works of engraver and painter Walter Sickert inspired the emergence of the two groups, it is Harold Gilman and his colleague Spencer Gore who are recognised with creating a new style within the country. Named after a squalid area of London, the Camden Town Group depicted the evolving people, activities and attitudes of the metropolis and focused on Britain’s transition from an industrialising nation into a modern state. Despite having introduced post-impressionism to Britain and often being labelled post-impressionist themselves, the Camden Town Group’s style is a culmination of the exciting developments it saw in modern European art. As exemplified in Gilman’s ‘Self-portrait’, the group drew from the impressionists’ treatment of light, Georges Seurat’s divisionism of colour, and from Fauvism’s painterly emphasis, in addition to emphasising the importance of post-impressionists, like Van Gogh. Standing half-turned, with his hands in pockets, against a halo of light pouring into an object-filled room, Gilman depicts himself as both an individual and as a man of culture and the world. (EF)
circa 1908-circa 1909
oil on canvas
35.7 x 25.7 cm stretcher; 51.2 x 41.0 x 6.0 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Shown in 2 exhibitions
British Painting 1900-1950: Adelaide Festival of Arts 1966, National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, Mar 1966–Mar 1966
Artist's Glue, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains, 04 Mar 1985–30 Jun 1985
Ernest Brown and Phillips Ltd, London, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Ernest Brown and Phillips 1946
Referenced in 4 publications
members of the Camden Town Group', Perfect Moderns: A history of the Camden Town Group, 'Catalogue of paintings in public collections, pp.157-208, Aldershot, 2000, 171.
British painting 1800–1990 in Australian and New Zealand public collections, Sydney, 1997, 88. cat.no. 748
Art Gallery of New South Wales catalogue of British paintings, Sydney, 1987, 67 (illus.).
Adelaide Festival of Arts 1966: special exhibitions at the National Gallery of South Australia, 'British Painting 1900-1950', Adelaide, 1966. cat. no. 1