Made in Britain Day Auction

Made in Britain Day Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 139. Study for Family Bereavement.

Property from the Collection of Geoffrey M. and Carol D. Chinn

David Bomberg

Study for Family Bereavement

Auction Closed

June 7, 03:45 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from the Collection of Geoffrey M. and Carol D. Chinn

David Bomberg

1890 - 1957

Study for Family Bereavement

signed David Bomberg (lower right)

charcoal and red and black chalk on paper

unframed (sheet): 49 by 44cm.; 19¼ by 17¼in.

framed: 67.5 by 73.5cm.; 26½ by 29in.

Executed in 1912.

We are grateful to Richard Cork for his kind assistance with the cataloguing of the present work.

Fischer Fine Art, London, where acquired by the present owners, 11 March 1983

London, The Tate Gallery, David Bomberg, February – May 1988, no. 27, illustrated p. 146

London, The Barbican Art Gallery, The Last Romantics: Romantic Tradition in British Art - Burne-Jones to Stanley Spencer, 9 February – 9 April 1989, no. 450

Study for Family Bereavement comes from a small group of works on the subject of mourning and personal loss which Bomberg produced the year after his mother's death in October 1912 at the young age of 48 (see also lot 148, another version of the same subject). Rebecca Bomberg had been the great support to his art-making in the family, buying canvases, materials and even helping him to start his studio in St Mark's Street, Whitechapel, next door to the family home.

The loss hit Bomberg incredibly hard.

The version entitled Family Bereavement, 1913 in the Tate Collection presents a cramped space in quite intricate detail where five desperate family members comfort one another and pray. It is a scene which emphasises Bomberg's Jewish heritage. The light on the side-table relates to the 'yahrzeit' (memorial candle) which symbolises the soul of the dead. The characters' stage-like presentation appears to relate to the Yiddish dramas performed at the Pavilion Theatre in the East End. Interestingly, Bomberg allegedly kept a version of this work on his easel and identified himself as the figure on the far right. The intricate detail locates this work firmly in the style of the Slade School where Bomberg won the Henry Tonks prize in 1913.    

The present work marks a transition between the detailed Tate piece, and the further abstraction which he developed in the later works of the subject- including lot 148.