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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Fry’

This month, the International Virginia Woolf Society shared a series of “interesting facts about Virginia Woolf on its Facebook page.

Vanessa Bell

The most recent, * Interesting fact no. 12, * told the story of how Woolf, 28, and her sister, Vanessa Bell, 30, “once appeared in public almost nude,” according to the judgment of some who saw them at a ball held in conjunction with Roger Fry’s 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist painters at the Grafton Galleries.

Inspired by the paintings, the two sisters browned their arms and legs, adorned themselves with flowers and beads, and appeared as bare-shouldered, bare-legged, ‘indecent’, figures from a Gauguin canvas.

It’s said that the two women recreated their Gauguin girl look for a later photo, which has not been located.

Visit the IVWS Facebook page for more interesting facts about Virginia, including the fact that Woolf’s Dreadnought Hoax escapade heads the list of “The Twelve Best Facts from a Year of Interesting Literature.”.

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A couple of Woolf hunters have offered a recently discovered painting by Roger Fry for sale.

Scene

A newly discovered landscape by Roger Fry (circa 1913-1919) is now being offered for sale by Jon S. Richardson Rare Books.

Known as “Scene,” this untitled impressionist rendering of a farmhouse alongside a river was discovered to be a work of Fry when the painting was cleaned and repaired by a professional art restoration firm, according to an email the seller, Jon S Richardson Rare Books of Concord, Mass., sent Blogging Woolf.

About the Fry painting

The oil on canvas measures 20 inches by 24 inches, is circa 1913 to 1919 and has an original label from the Omega Workshops, 33 Fitzroy Square, on its reverse side. Dominant colors, which are mainly subdued, are green with brown-orange and blue-grey clouds. Fry’s signature appears in the lower left corner.

Research done by Richardson Rare Books includes the following facts to help date and locate the painting:

  • in 1916 Roger Fry was writing Vanessa Bell that he had returned to landscapes free of “the impressionism you infected me with.” (RF Letters #381- Spalding, Roger Fry .., p. 186)
  • In May, 1916, Fry was at Bo Peep Farm in Alciston (now a B&B near Berwick) painting landscapes (RF Letters #378), evidence that the painting is a Sussex scene and quite possibly a farmstead along the Cuckmere River.

About the painting’s history

The painting’s acquisition by the rare books company led it “to the informed speculation that the painting was one sold in New York City by Sunwise Turn, the Manhattan bookshop which dealt in Omega goods,” according to Richardson.

“While originally Sunwise was thought to deal in textiles only, from a photograph we handled several years ago advertising an Omega screen, it is clear they dealt in other Omega goods as well; any purchaser from Sunwise would have encountered the 1929 stock market crash followed by the Great Depression which no doubt caused the painting to be dispersed into the used goods market and lost in obscurity,” Richardson wrote.

“The signature, even on cleaning, is only visible with sharp light tightly focused, thus it does not show in a photograph with general flash nor upon routine visible inspection. Only upon cleaning did the signature achieve any visibility. Any Roger Fry oil painting from the Omega Period is rare and, with the Omega provenance, this is perhaps unique.”

About the Woolf hunters

According to “Woolf Hunters,” a 2010 article in the Harvard Magazine, Richardson founders Jon and harbor books screenshotMargaret Richardson have made hunting down the works of Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group their mission since opening York Harbor Books in Maine more than 20 years ago.

Their focus has been successful, Jon Richardson explains in the article, “because Woolf and her companions are `still taught, still collected, and many of the people who study the group end up as collectors.’” So successful that the shop publishes a major printed catalog each summer.

To contact Jon S. Richardson Rare Books, email Yorkharborbooks@aol.com.

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The Multiple Muses of Virginia WoolfThis week a member of the VWoolf Listserv asked for resources she could peruse regarding Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. As usual, list participants came quickly to the rescue. Here are some of the resources they shared:

From Anne Fernald:

“There is a lovely scene in the closing pages of the first section of vol. 1 of Proust of watching Japanese paper flowers unfold in water. It’s a scene that I think Woolf drew on, more than the madeleine–especially, say in Peter Walsh’s memories of Sally’s flowers at Bourton.

“More generally, Proust shared Woolf’s fascination with parties. Like Woolf, he was a serious, contemplative writer who took seriously the kinds of social foibles that might unfold at a party like the one Clarissa Dalloway gives. Knowing that Woolf read Proust while writing Dalloway is helpful: I imagine that his example fortified her sense that the topic, flimsy in the wrong hands, had possibilities for greatness.

“Woolf’s diaries, Hermione Lee, Sallye Greene, and Nicola Luckhurst might all be places to comb for more.”

Articles and books shared by several list members:

  • Pericles Lewis. “Proust, Woolf, and Modern Fiction.” Romanic Review. 99:1
  • Cheryl Mares, “‘The Burning Ground of the Present: Woolf and Her Contemporaries.”  Virginia Woolf and the Essay. Eds. Beth Rosenberg and Jeanne Dubino. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. 117-36.
  • “Reading Proust: Woolf and the Painter’s Perspective.” The Multiple Muses of Virginia Woolf. Ed. Diane Gillespie. University of Missouri Press, 1993. 58-89.
  • “Woolf’s Reading of Proust.” Reading Proust Now. Eds. Mary Ann Caws and Eugene Nicole. Peter Lang, 1990.
  •  J. Hillis Miller writes of Proust and the party in Mrs. Dalloway in Fiction and Repetition.
  • Emily Delgarno has a chapter on “Proust and the Fictions of the Unconscious” in her Virginia Woolf and the Migrations of Language

And quotes from Woolf on Proust shared by two on the list:

Last night I started on Vol 2 [Jeunes Filles en Fleurs] of him (the novel) and propose to sink myself in it all day. [. . . ] But Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. Oh if I could write like that! I cry. And at the moment such is the astonishing vibration and saturation and intensification that he procures?theres something sexual in it?that I feel I can write like that, and seize my pen and then I can’t write like that. Scarcely anyone so stimulates the nerves of language in me: it becomes an obsession. But I must return to Swann” – Letter to Roger Fry, 6 May 1922 (Letters II 525)

My great adventure is really Proust. Well–what remains to be written after that? I’m only in the first volume, and there are, I suppose, faults to be found, but I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped–and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance?  One has to put the book down and gasp. The pleasure becomes physical–like sun and wine and grapes and perfect serenity and intense vitality combined. Far otherwise is it with Ulysses. – Letter to Roger Fry, 3 October 1922 (Letters II 565-6)

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Blogging Woolf is back from a holiday hiatus made longer by a bout with On Being Ill — the virus, not the Virginia Woolf essay published in 1930  by the Hogarth Press. But now that we are back, we recommend a couple of essays for your edification in this new year.

armoury-show-posterThe first, “1913–What year…” by Kathleen Dixon Donnelly on the SuchFriends blog, takes an in-depth look at the New York Armory Show in February 1913, connecting it to Bloomsbury Group painters Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, etc. who closed London’s Second Post-Impressionist Exhibit early so many of the paintings could be sent on to New York.

Donnelly promises to post updates all year on what was happening to writers in 1913. You can also check out the Such Friends page on Facebook.

The second is Blogging Woolf contributor Alice Lowe‘s latest published work, “On the Road Again,” which appears in the current issue of The Feathered Flounder.

Lowe notes that “being the mother of a daughter and the daughter of a mother is a rich source of feathered flounderreflection.” In this latest poignant essay, she draws on those dual experiences, as well as “from those other gems, memory and aging” to wonder whether she has encountered the beginning of her dotage.

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kew-gardensDuke University Library has published a small collection of Bloomsbury Group-related materials in Manuscripts and Woodcuts: Visions and Designs from Bloomsbury.

The materials feature a handwritten, manuscript draft of Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey and a collection of woodcut illustrations by Robert Fry, as well as letters and book covers, according to Duke’s Digital Collections Blog.

The effort accompanies a Duke University Libraries exhibit on the Bloomsbury Group entitled “‘How Full of Life Those Days Seemed’: New Approaches to Art, Literature, Sexuality, and Society in Bloomsbury.”

The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration at Duke, Vision and Design: A Year of Bloomsbury. Read more on Blogging Woolf.

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duke-in-depthThe pen is mightier than the brush when it comes to pointing people in the direction of Bloomsbury. And Virginia Woolf is one of the movement’s most recognizable proponents.

At least that is what Cornell curator Nancy Green says as she discusses the exhibit of Bloomsbury works that opens Dec. 18 at Duke University’s Nasher Museum in Durham, N.C. It runs through April 5.

The exhibit, called “A Room of Their Own,” marks the 100-year-anniversary of the Bloomsbury group’s founding. It is jointly curated by the museums at Duke and Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and includes many art objects from private collections that have never been on public display.

Roger Fry’s Head of a Model, 1913, is among them, along with furniture, books and works on paper that date from 1910 to the 1970s.

A preview and holiday party for museum members and the Duke community will be held Dec. 17 at 7 p.m., and a Curators Panel Discussion is set for Jan. 29 at 6 p.m.

For more details about Duke’s “Vision and Design: A Year of Bloomsbury,” which includes 12 months of campus-wide programming that celebrates the exhibit, click here.

You can also read a story in the Courier-Journal about the Bloomsbury paintings three Louisville, Kentucky, collections have loaned the exhibit.

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