Walter Sickert, Au Café Concert, Vernet’s Dance Hall, 1920, oil on canvas, 71 x 48 cm, Private collection, courtesy of the Daniel Katz Gallery
The final years that Sickert spent living in Dieppe were marked with sadness following Christine’s death. In spite of this his last paintings of Dieppe made between 1920 and 1922 proved to be amongst the most imaginative and poignant of his entire career. The period can be characterised by a renewed interest in figure painting. Sickert’s days were spent working from life models in his seafront studio on the Rue Aguado, whilst the evenings centred on the observation of lively performances at Vernet’s cabaret restaurant in the harbour.
Typically he finished up at the Casino where he made sketches of gamblers at the baccarat tables until the early hours of the morning. Sickert drew upon the teachings of Degas first imparted to him in Dieppe in 1885 and he resurrected pictorial techniques from earlier paintings, in particular his music-hall paintings and conversation pieces.