'Bathers, Dieppe', Walter Richard Sickert, 1902

Wide horizontal waves rush towards paddlers in a sea that fills the whole canvas.

Oil on canvas, 131.4 x 104.5cm

Accession Number WAG2262

This composition features a viewpoint without a horizon and a daring off-centre positioning of the figures. This is intended as an immediate, almost snap-shot capturing of a moment of reality.

Sickert was greatly influenced by his friend Degas. He was the most powerful of the British artists working in the Post-Impressionist style. This and several other pictures were made as interior décor for a Dieppe café. The owner disliked them and sold them off.

Sickert's triangular grouping of the figures in striped costumes gives compositional tautness. Yet once recognised as such it seems almost whimsical.

An extended study of 'Bathers, Dieppe'| is also available online as part of our Artwork of the Month series.