Richard Shone The Art of Bloomsbury

ISBN 13: 9780691049939

The Art of Bloomsbury

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9780691049939: The Art of Bloomsbury


The word Bloomsbury most often summons the novels of Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster or images of artists and intellectuals debating the hot parlor topics of 1910s and 1920s London: literary aesthetics, agnosticism, defining truth and goodness, and the ideas of Bertrand Russell, A. N. Whitehead, and G. E. Moore. But the Bloomsbury Group also played a prominent role in the development of modernist painting in Britain. The work of artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, and their colleagues was often audacious and experimental, and proved to be one of the key influences on twentieth-century British art and design.


This catalogue, published to accompany a major international exhibition of the Bloomsbury painters originating at the Tate Gallery in London and traveling to the Yale Center for British Art and the Huntington Art Gallery, provides a new look at the visual side of a movement that is more generally known for its literary production. It traces the artists' development over several decades and assesses their contribution to modernism. Catalogue entries on two hundred works, all illustrated in color, bring out the chief characteristics of Bloomsbury painting--domestic, contemplative, sensuous, and essentially pacific. These are seen in landscapes, portraits, and still lifes set in London, Sussex, and the South of France, as well as in the abstract painting and applied art that placed these artists at the forefront of the avant-garde before the First World War. Portraits of family and friends--from Virginia Woolf and Maynard Keynes to Aldous Huxley and Edith Sitwell--highlight the cultural and social setting of the group. Essays by leading scholars provide further insights into the works and the changing critical reaction to them, exploring friendships and relationships both within and outside of Bloomsbury, as well as the movement's wider social, economic, and political background.


With beautiful illustrations and a highly accessible text, this catalogue represents a unique look at this fascinating artistic enclave. In addition to the editor, the contributors are James Beechey and Richard Morphet.



Exhibition Schedule:



The Tate Gallery, London
November 4, 1999-January 30, 2000



The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
San Marino, California



The Yale Center for British Art
New Haven, Connecticut

May 20-September 2, 2000


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About the Author:

Richard Shone is an Associate Editor of The Burlington Magazine, and a well-known writer on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art. His books include Bloomsbury Portraits, Alfred Sisley, and Walter Sickert. He has also written extensively on contemporary British artists such as Fiona Rae, Rachel Whiteread, and Damien Hirst.

From Library Journal:

Published as a catalog to accompany a traveling exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London, the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, and The Yale Center for British Art, The Art of Bloomsbury focuses on the artists of this circle, which flourished in England during the first decades of the 20th century. In three scholarly essays, the artists Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Clive Bell, and critic Roger Fry are discussed in terms of their relationship to French modernist art and abstraction. Also emphasized is the vision of ritual and ceremony and the dreamlike quality of the Bloomsbury artists' work, which had its roots in the tradition of the 19th-century high Victorian imagination. A catalog of beautiful color illustrations of all art objects in the exhibition is divided up chronologically and thematically, with each section accompanied by a short introductory essay. Highly recommended for all art libraries and academic libraries supporting programs in art. Bloomsbury at Home focuses upon the districts and houses where the artists and writers of the Bloomsbury group chose to live and how these places reflected their ideas on art and life. The Bloomsbury group's evocation of these places is illustrated through excerpts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and personal anecdotes. Physical details of the houses are described, as are the daily details of the lives of these artists. A helpful and succinct glossary of the biographies of all of the members of the Bloomsbury group is included in the front of this volume. Nice photographs and color reproductions of artworks and interiors are included. This is an enjoyable book, and although not very scholarly, it has interesting firsthand accounts of life during this period. Recommended for general art collections.
-Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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