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This is the first biography of Gertler to be published for thirty years. It reappraises an extraordinary artist, a figure who fascinated his contemporaries. His is for instance the sinister sculptor of D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love, the dashing Byronic hero of Aldous Huxley's Crome Yellow, and the egotistical writer of Katherine Mansfield's story Je ne parle pas francais. Gertler achieved recognition early, and was admired and encouraged by Walter Sickert, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry and Henry Moore. He was championed by the flamboyant Lady Ottoline Morrell, and his magnificent, haunting pictures were keenly collected.
Yet despite his apparent ease in London society, he himself felt his Jewishness and working-class background to be insuperable barriers, and his artistic ambition gradually alienated him even from the people among whom he'd grown up. He found no happiness and at the age of 47 he committed suicide. A few weeks earlier he had had dinner with Virginia Woolf and had impressed her with his 'fanatical devotion to his art'. On hearing of his death she recorded in her diary that he had been 'perhaps too rigid, too self-centred, too honest and too narrow ... to be content or happy. But with his intellect and interest,' she asked, 'why did the personal life become too painful?
That is one of the questions Sarah MacDougall explores in her life of this complex man, whose powerful images, like the Merry-go-round or the Creation of Eve, have lost none of their disturbing eloquence.
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For his contemporaries, artist Mark Gertler was a figure of intense fascination. He was the inspiration for the sinister sculptor of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love; the dashing Byronic hero of Aldous Huxley’s Chrome Yellow; and the egotistical painter of Katherine Mansfield’s Je ne parle pas Français. Gertler was admired by the leading artists of the day and championed by Henry Moore and the flamboyant Lady Ottoline Morrell. His haunting paintings were keenly collected. Yet, despite his seeming ease in London society, he felt his Jewishness and his working–class background as insuperable barriers, and his artistic ambition gradually alienated him even from the people with whom he had grown up. finding no happiness, he killed himself at the age of 48. Art historian Sarah MacDougall explores the life of this complex man, whose paintings have lost none of their disturbing eloquence.About the Author:
Sarah MacDougall is an art historian who has been stuyding and lecturing on Gertler for more than ten years. This is her first book.
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