Roger Fry

Portrait of a Woman Reading

Portrait of a Woman Reading by Roger Fry

Artwork Detail

The sitter in this sketch is unidentified, but bears a strong resemblance to Vanessa Bell, with whom Roger Fry had an affair, although it could also be her sister Virginia Woolf. The relaxed pose of the subject, who, engrossed in her book, absentmindedly places her fingers on her right forearm beneath her sleeve, suggests an intimacy between sitter and portraitist.

Known as a critic and curator, as well as a painter, Fry espoused the belief that artists should ‘give up the idea of imitative likeness and aim at the creation of absolute necessitated form.’ His later works, however, do not always adhere to this ideal, but as Frances Spalding observes, ‘they are often richer in human value. They reveal an intelligence and lack of rhetoric that gives them a freshness and immediacy of effect.’ (Intimate Portraits, 2005)

Portrait of a Woman Reading
Roger Fry
Production date
pen and ink
219 x 171 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr Ian Johnson, 1976
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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