Modern British Art by William Strang: The Opera Cloak, 1913 |


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William Strang:
The Opera Cloak, 1913

Framed (ref: 8002)
Signed and dated 

Oil on Canvas
48 x 40 1/8 in.(122 x 102 cm)

Tags: leisure men women Modern British Art at Mercers' Hall The Alan M. Fortunoff Collection

Provenance: The Fortunoff collection [HF11]

Exhibited; 1913 Royal Portrait Society (as 'Miss Nancy Strang');

1981 Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, National Portrait Gallery, London, cat no 21.

Literature: William Strang RA 1859-1921, Sheffield City Art Galleries, page 41 and 44.

Portrait of Nancy Strang and David or Ian Strang

Amongst his children, one son of whom holds the cloak, Strang's only daughter Nancy held a particular place in her father's heart. This portrait of her clearly illustrates how Strang desired to express his love of female beauty. 
He once, recounted C.R. Ashbee, "... showed me a drawing of his, 'I've tried all my life to do the pretty-pretty but it's no good... I can't'. He suddenly checked, looking at his little daughter Nancy and handed me a drawing of her, 'but what do you think of that?'".
He could not cut corners, could not bring himself to suggest where he felt he must delineate the facts, as he saw them, of his daughter's physiognomy, and it is  this sincerity which lends her identity a force and integrity which can justifiably be called beauty. To alleviate and complement the intensity of the image, Strang introduced the still-life and hanging - bright with the colours of the Ballet Russe and redolent of pleasure.

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