Jewish Melody

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Jewish Melody

Jewish Melody, 1920–21
Oil on canvas, 160 cm x 90 cm (estimated size)

Sarah Roberts with her mother, Cecilia Kramer.
The notes prepared with the cooperation of Sarah and John Roberts in the National Portrait Gallery 1984 catalogue say that '[William] Roberts was very fond of his mother-in-law, Cecilia Kramer. She had tremendous character and intellect, thinking nothing of translating Russian poets into Yiddish . . . Although [in Jewish Melody] seen bare-headed, she apparently always wore a headscarf indoors' (p. 18). Jewish Melody was apparently destroyed (ibid.), but it appears that a detail of Cecilia Kramer was cut from the large painting and reframed with some additional paint masking background details. This portrait seems to have been bought by Sir Edward Marsh for the Contemporary Art Society and donated to Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. William Roberts reproduced Jewish Melody and the detail (Cecilia Kramer) in his self-published book Paintings 1917–1958 by William Roberts A.R.A. (1960). There the caption below the reproduction of the detail of Cecilia Kramer (p. 23) states that the work was owned by the Tate Gallery, but this does not appear to have been the case.
EXHIBITION HISTORY: Chenil Galleries 1923 (exhibited as no. 3, price £130)
Cf. Cecilia Kramer 1925 and Head of Woman [Cecilia Kramer] 1920–21

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