William Orpen: 11 interesting facts

Major Sir William Newenham Montague Orpen, KBE, RA, RHA (27 November 1878 – 29 September 1931) was an Irish artiste who worked mainly in London. Orpen was a Good draughtsman and a popular, commercially booming painter of portraits for the affluent in Edwardian society, though many of his most striking paintings are self-portraits.

During World War I, he was the most prolific of the recognized war artists sent by Britain to the Western Front. There he produced drawings and paintings of unknown soldiers, dead men, and German prisoners of war, as with ease as portraits of generals and politicians. Most of these works, 138 in all, he donated to the British government; they are now in the hoard of the Imperial War Museum. His friends to the senior ranks of the British Army allowed him to stay in France longer than any of the other certified war artists, and although he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1918 Birthday Honours, and after that elected a believer of the Royal Academy of Arts, his aspiration to sustain as a warfare artist cost him both his health and his social standing in Britain.

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After his beforehand death a number of critics, including supplementary artists, were loudly dismissive of his work, and for many years his paintings were rarely exhibited, a thing that on your own began to bend in the 1980s.

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