High-Steppers shows the Plaza Tiller Girls, known for their high-kicking long legs, who worked at the Plaza Cinema, near Piccadilly Circus in London. During the 1920s, various dance troupes became affiliated with specific cinemas, the star attraction in what was known as cine-variety - films alternating with live music and performance. Sickert worked directly from a photograph published in the London Evening News, originally a film still recording the Tiller Girls' appearance in the film ‘A Little Bit of Fluff'.
Sickert lived abroad from 1898-1905 and was inspired by his time in Paris, and in particular by his friendship with the French painter Edgar Degas. Degas's talent for creating the effect of spontaneity in paint and his depictions of the modern figure in Paris influenced Sickert who sought to represent his own vision of London and urban life.
'High-Steppers' is probably Sickert's last painting to show a theatre scene, one of his favourite subjects. It is his third painting of the Plaza Tiller Girls, a dance troupe who performed at the Plaza cinema in Piccadilly, entertaining the audience before the start of the film. Although Sickert was a frequent visitor to the theatre, he never made any drawings or paintings there; instead, he preferred to work from press photographs. All three paintings of the Plaza Tiller Girls were based on a photograph which appeared in The Evening News in 1927.
- Credits Purchased 1979
- Medium Oil on canvas
- Size 132.00 x 122.50 cm (framed: 149.50 x 139.50 x 10.00 cm)