The Situation Group by Sylvia Sleigh, 1961 © National Portrait Gallery, London This portrait is on display in Room 6817.


The Situation Group by Sylvia Sleigh

Now this is exactly how I imagine Juliet to be, surrounded by the artists she nurtures and admires – often a lone woman amid a sea of men. Like the fictional artists in ‘The Gallery of Vanished Husbands’ the artists depicted in ‘The Situation Group’ are strongly influenced by thrilling new work coming from America and hanker after the modern. I like the clean lines of the painting, and the thoughtful expression on the face of the only woman. She wears elegant black and none of the playful red that several of the men display on their ties. It must be lonely and take a certain strength of character to be a woman operating in the male dominated art scene of the ‘60s.  I also love the chap in large, David Hockney spectacles at the centre of the painting – so evocative of the era.