description A three-quarter length portrait of an elderly, female newspaper seller, shown in full face view with head turned slightly to the right, her gaze averted from the viewer's. She wears a turban (a typical wartime and postwar fashion, often concealing curlers beneath) secured with a hatpin, and a heavy brown tweed overcoat, holding a pile of papers in her left arm with a satchel for takings slung around her neck. The face and figure are painted in densely built-up layers, while the houses and Whitechapel street behind her are lightly rendered in an ochre palette. As with many of Frankfurther's paintings, the subject is somewhere between portrait and genre scene and shows her empathy not only for working people, but particularly for women. The head is reminiscent of the sitter in Walter Sickert's 'Mamma Mia Poveretta' (1901-06, Manchester Art Gallery), but Frankfurther's emphasis is different. Here, the newspaper seller, waiting patiently, is heroic in her endurance.
dimensions 74 x 56 cm
medium oil on paper
exhibition history 'Eva Frankfurther 1930-1959: Retrospective Exhibition', Ben Uri Art Gallery, 14 Berners Street, London W1, 14 Feb-9 March 1962, (30); 'Eva Frankfurther 1930-1959: Memorial Exhibition', Boundary Gallery, London, 15 June-18 July 2001, (10), as 'Newspaper Seller, Whitechapel', NFS; 'Refiguring the 50s: Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman, L S Lowry', Ben Uri Gallery and Museum, London, 14 Nov 2014-22 Feb 2015, (33).
literature ed., B. Planskoy, 'Eva Frankfurther 1930-1959: Paintings, lithographs and drawings (London: Peter Halban, 2001), illus., p. 43; ed., S. MacDougall, 'Refiguring the 50s: Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman, L S Lowry' (London: Ben Uri, 2014), p. 33 and illus., p. 92.