Sir William Orpen. Artist & Man (1932)
Book ID: 67280
Sir William Orpen. Artist & Man. London: Seeley Service, 1932. First Edition. Pp, 287, untrimmed. Green cloth boards, in pictorial dust jacket. A nice bright copy.
Illustrated with 64 plates.
William Orpen was born in Dublin in 1878. He entered the Metropolitan School of Art in Dublin at the age of thirteen. He then enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1897. Initially, Orpen wanted to be a caricaturist but after having several cartoons rejected by Punch Magazine he decided to return to Ireland to teach at the Dublin School of Art. He returned to London in 1903 where he joined forces with Augustus John to run a short-lived art school in Chelsea. In 1908 Orpen exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy. This helped to develop his reputation as a portrait painter. In 1916 Orpen’s friend, the Quartermaster General, John Cowans, arranged for him to receive a commission in the Army Service Corps. This mainly involved him painting the portraits of senior political and military figures such as Winston Churchill and Lord Derby. Orpen was shocked by what he saw at the front and also painted pictures such as Dead Germans in a Trench. Other paintings such as The Mad Woman of Douai, ‘convey the stress and anguish he certainly felt about the war and its aftermath.’ Orpen became known for his portraits of public figures and during his career produced over 600 of these pictures. He died in 1931.