William Orpen: Towards a Minor Self-Portraiture

  title={William Orpen: Towards a Minor Self-Portraiture},
  author={Lucy Cotter},
  journal={Visual Culture in Britain},
  pages={25 - 42}
Royal Academy artist William Orpen (1878–1931) was once the most sought-after and the highest-earning portrait painter in Britain. His posthumous fall from favour was partly due to Tate director John Rothenstein's damning critique of Orpen's inability to fulfil his artistic potential thanks to his ‘divided loyalties’ to Britain and his native Ireland. This essay argues rather that it was precisely Orpen's complex positionality that informed the most innovative of his works, leading him to… Expand
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One further example is The Vere-Foster Family (1907), which Vere-Foster found somehow mocking. He found it difficult to determine exactly how
  • William Orpen: Politics, Sex and Death, exhibition catalogue
  • 2005
This perceived bestiality was linked to the racial classification of the Irish as non-white, which served to partly justify Irish colonization. See Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White
  • 1996
The Franco-British Exhibition: Packaging Empire in Edwardian England', in The Edwardian Era, exhibition catalogue
  • 1987
For an account written just after Orpen's death that puts him in the context of his peers, see The Post-Victorians
  • 1933
Cited in Coombes, The Edwardian Era
    Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1952), 214. Rothenstein also blames Orpen's happy childhood, which allegedly raised few questions and challenges
    • Modern English Painters: From Sickert to Smith