About this artwork

During the early 1920s McCance began to schematise the human body, stripping away detail until it had an almost robotic appearance. This is one of several oils which feature vividly coloured, cubist-inspired nudes in a landscape. Specific stories seem to be suggested, though precisely what these are remains a mystery. The figures in the background appear to be making gestures but are obscured by the nudes in the front, caught in curiously contorted postures. These poses have clearly been chosen to provide a compositional structure and give the idea of movement in opposing directions, but the resulting picture adds up to far more than this. It is the awkward rigidity, the ambiguity and the strangeness which makes the painting intriguing.

  • title:
    The Awakening
  • accession number:
    GMA 4840
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Oil on board
  • date created:
    1925
  • measurements:
    61.00 x 46.00 cm (framed: 76.80 x 62.00 x 4.90 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased 2007
  • copyright:
    © Margaret McCance
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

William McCance

William McCance