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Sickert vs. Sargent brings to life two of the biggest characters in modern British art; Walter Sickert - the gruff, aggressive man-of-the-people; and John Singer Sargent - the urbane and charming dandy.
The film focuses on some of the most beautiful and alarming paintings ever made in this country; pictures of aristocrats and prostitutes, coronations and killings, opera houses and music halls, and will evoke the long-lost atmosphere of Edwardian London. But above all it will show that from their two outposts in Chelsea and Camden, Sickert and Sargent were waging a war whose legacy still haunts us today.
These two larger-than-life immigrants were battling for nothing less than the future soul of British art.
Surveying the big names of recent British art - Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff, Paula Rego, Jenny Saville, Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon - and their thick paint, ugly aesthetic and proletarian fleshiness, it is clear that it was the 'master of the kitchen' who was victorious.
A Film by Waldemar Januszczak.