Ben Uri collection


Artist information

Name Clare Winsten (1894-1989)

Other name Clara Weinstein, Clara Birnberg

Born Romania

Died London, England

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Clare Winsten (formerly Clara Weinstein, nee Birnberg) was a key member of the 'Whitechapel Group', a group of artists and poets, including her husband Stephen Winsten (formerly Samuel / Simy Weinstein). This group was usually called the 'Whitechapel Boys' and included Mark Gertler, Isaac Rosenberg and David Bomberg, who all studied with Clare at the Slade School for Fine Art. They were linked through the East End Jewish community centred around Whitechapel and Stepney. During the First World War, Stephen Winsten became a Conscientious Objector. Clare Winsten supported him and campaigned against his imprisonment. She later channelled her artistic output into sculpture, while Stephen Winsten continued to write. They also continued to work on pacifist and humanist activities and they both became Humanist Quakers.

Object Details

Date c.1910

Object type painting

Medium watercolour on paper

Materials and techniques watercolour (medium) paper (support)

Unframed 54 x 75.5 cm

Framed 75.5 x 95 cm

Acquisition purchased

Accession number 2008-5

Display status not on display

'Attack' is believed to date from Winsten's time at the Slade School. This watercolour on paper is unfinished and it may have been a study intended for transfer to canvas, possibly as an exercise for exhibition. It depicts a biblical scene, which at this time was a common subject for Slade School Competition entries. Despite her Jewish background, Winsten's art did not generally make reference to it and 'Attack' is likely to have been merely an artistic response to the competition brief. She adopted an experimental approach, with Post-Impressionist influences which can also be seen in David Bomberg's work at this time. 'Attack' represents a stage in Clare's artistic development, where she embraced the emerging British Modernist movement and stretched her creative skills in partnership with other key Modernist artists. Her subsequent career led her in different directions to those followed by her contemporaries at the Slade School of Fine Art. However, she maintained her creative purpose and combined it with her other interests in campaigning and politics. She has ensured that she is remembered as the 'Whitechapel Girl', with her sculpture still on display at Toynbee Hall in Whitechapel.

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© Clare Winsten estate