About this artwork

From the early twentieth century, many artists worked on ballet productions, which was largely due to the success of the dancer Nijinsky and the innovative ‘Ballet Russe’ company which toured Europe. In 1931 Roberts had designed a drop curtain for the Camargo ballet company which was used at the Savoy Theatre in London. The composition of this painting was probably influenced by the work of Walter Sickert, who was interested in the behaviour of both theatre performers and audiences. Although the dancer on stage is the focus of attention, half of the canvas is filled with the members of the audience, each of whom is acutely observed and depicted as an individual, despite being in the shadows.

William Patrick Roberts

William Patrick Roberts