Like many of the best British artists, Walter Sickert was a foreigner. Born in Munich in 1860, he moved to Bedford when he was eight and spent the rest of his career on this sceptred isle not quite fitting in. As with Bacon, Freud, Auerbach and Rego, he was one thing when he arrived, England was another thing, and the chemical reaction between the two produced a path that was different. This edgy, fidgety, elusive trajectory is now being examined by Tate Britain.
It’s the biggest Sickert survey yet mounted and begins with self-portraits. Most self-portraits have a sense of “this is me” about them. Sickert’s are more “where’s Walter?” None of the dozen or so images of himself that kick off this flickery journey