Alias:F. W. GeorgeG. F. WattsGeorge Frederic Watts
(b London, 1817; d Limerlease, England, 1904) British Painter. Watts was one of the most remarkable and versatile figures in Victorian art. During his long career of some seventy years, he made major contributions to history painting, the mural revival, portraiture, landscape, high Victorian classicism, symbolism, and the new sculpture. To put this in different words, no one did more to bridge the enormous gap between the age of Haydon and Etty and the dawn of modernism. He is not an easy artist; the moral allegories by which he set such store have proved particularly difficult for a twentieth-century audience, but taste seems to be changing. He was well represented in the exhibition “The Age of Rosetti, Burne-Jones and Watts: Symbolism in Britain 1860-1910”, mounted at the Tate Gallery last year, and for many he emerged as the star of the show. The object of the exhibition was to place British symbolism in a European context, and Watts lends himself to this treatment. His work was well known and much admired on the continent during his lifetime. (Credit: Christie’s, London, Impressionist and 19th Century Art, June 24, 1998, lot 33)
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