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Details & Cataloguing

20th Century British Art

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London

Spencer Frederick Gore
1878-1914
A BALLET AT THE ALHAMBRA
stamped with signature
oil on canvas
51 by 40.5cm.; 20 by 16in.
Executed in 1906.
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Provenance

The Artist's Family
Anthony d'Offay, London, where acquired by the present owner in 1984

Exhibited

London, Carfax Gallery, Paintings by the late Spencer F. Gore, 1916, cat. no.11;
London, Leicester Galleries, Exhibition of Paintings by Spencer F. Gore, 1928, cat. no.25;
The Arts Council, Spencer Frederick Gore 1878-1914, 1955, cat. no.4, lent by Mrs Spencer Gore;
London, Redfern Gallery, Spencer Gore and Frederick Gore, 1962, cat. no.12;
Colchester, The Minories, Spencer Frederick Gore 1878-1914, March - April 1970, cat. no.5, with tour to Oxford, Ashmolean Museum and Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery;
London, Anthony d'Offay, Spencer Frederick Gore 1878-1914, 1983, cat. no.2, illustrated in the catalogue.

Catalogue Note

In 1906 Gore embarked upon a series of studies of music-hall and ballet subjects at the Old Bedford and Alhambra, which came to form some of his best known paintings. The present work is Gore's first recorded painting of the Alhambra and the choice of subject and style of painting resonates with the work of Sickert, whom Gore had met two years earlier in Dieppe.

Located in Leicester Square but demolished in 1936, the Alhambra was one of the most popular music-halls of its day. Its decorative design and large stage, host to a variety of spectacular shows, provided plenty of inspiration for Gore. Ashley Gibson, a journalist friend of Gore wrote how he, 'was a familiar figure in the Alhambra balcony, always in the same seat, taking sights with thumb and pencil at the uplifted legs of ballerinas' (Ashley Gibson, Postscript to Adventure, London, 1930, p.33). The dancer in A Ballet at the Alhambra is Maria Bordin, prima ballerina assoluta from La Scala, Milan. Ivor Guest, the renowned historian of nineteenth-century ballet, wrote of the 'grace, vigour and subtlety of her dancing', which Gore evokes with deft brushstrokes in the controlled and fluid movement of her body.

20th Century British Art

|
London