Friday, August 27, 2010

Hon. John Collier - Trouble


Price Realized £16,730

oil on canvas
40 x 48 in. (101.5 x 122 cm.)

London, Royal Academy, 1898, no. 657.

Collier produced numerous portraits and history pictures but he was best known for his so called 'problem pictures' which had open-ended psychological dramas left for viewers to interpret. In spite of Collier's protestation that 'the little tragedies of modern life' had 'perfectly plain' meanings, Trouble nevertheless remains ambiguous. A younger woman weeps to the left, while an older woman grips her sewing machine while looking anxiously at the shadows. What has transpired, and who is approaching? Are the women transgressors, or victims? Collier specialised in such moments of dramatic tension.

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