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Posts Tagged ‘Omega Workshop’

This post is reblogged from The Charleston Attic.

We visited the Courtauld Gallery’s display of items from the Omega Workshops. The Workshops operated in London between 1913 and 1919 under the directorship of Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Gra…

Source: From Patterned to Plain: A Visit to the Courtauld Gallery Exhibition on Omega Workshops | The Charleston Attic

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SuchFriends Blog

…The Omega Workshops open their doors. Using money inherited from a Quaker uncle, painter and critic Roger Fry, 46, along with his Bloomsbury painter friends, Vanessa Bell, 34, and Duncan Grant, 28, produce textiles, ceramics, home furnishings—a whole range of art and decoration, for sale at 33 Fitzroy Square.

A few doors down from the house Vanessa’s sister, Virginia Woolf, 31, had shared with their brother, it is also convenient walking distance from where Vanessa and her husband, art critic Clive, 31, live with their two children.

Planning the opening celebration, Vanessa writes to Roger:  “We should get all our disreputable and…aristocratic friends to come, and after dinner we should repair to Fitzroy Square where there should be decorated furniture, painted walls, etc. There we should all get drunk and dance and kiss, orders would flow in and the aristocrats would feel they were really in the thick of things.”…

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Night and Day: Monk’s House, Rodmell (2011), an original cut paper collage by Amanda White that is part of her Writers' Houses series. See more at http://www.amandawhite-contemporarynaiveart.com.

Woolf and collage, anyone?

That was the question that came up on the VWoolf Listserv a few weeks ago. Other list members promptly and generously shared information on the topic of Woolf and modern collage.

Here are the highlights of that discussion, along with some details I have added:

  • Brenda Helt cited Woolf’s writing about the 1910 and 1912 Post-Impressionist Exhibitions and the Omega Workshop.  Specifically, she mentioned the
    sometimes snide and snarky commentary” in Volumes 1 and 2 of Woolf’s letters, indexed as “Post-impressionist Exhibition” and “Omega Workshop,” and “her later more complex and appreciative understanding” included in the chapters on Post-impressionism and the Omega in Woolf’s biography of Roger Fry.
  • Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and other post-impressionists worked with collage. Both used collage in objects sold at the Omega Workshops and in decorating furniture at Charleston Farmhouse and elsewhere.
  • Woolf knew of early Cubist collage, but would have been most familiar with applied arts such as collage through Bell’s and Grant’s work, as well as the work of other Bloomsbury artists.
  • Three examples of Bell’s and Grant’s collages from 1912, 1914 and 1915 are included in the exhibition catalog for A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections. You can read a post about the last stop on that exhibit’s 2010 cross-country tour here. Collage examples in the exhibition catalogue include:
    • Bell’s Composition (1914), oil and gouache on cut-and-pasted paper, Page 124
    • Grant’s In Memoriam: Rupert Brooke (1915), oil and collage on panel, Page 176
    • Grant’s Design for a Fire Screen (1912), watercolor, gouache and collage, Page 220
  • Christopher Reed, associate professor of English and visual culture at Penn State, discusses and shows examples of others in Bloomsbury Rooms: Modernism, Subculture, Domesticity. They include:
    • Grant’s On the Mantelpiece, 46 Gordon Square (1914), oil and collage on board, Page 149.
    • Roger Fry’s Essay in Abstract Design (1915), oil and collaged bus tickets, Page 155.
    • Grant’s Abstract Kinetic Collage Painting with Sound (1914), gouache, watercolor and collage on paper, Page 156
    • Grant’s Abstract (1914-5), paint, fabric and collaged paper on board, Page 158
    • Grant’s Interior at 46 Gordon Square (1914-5), collaged paper on board, Page 159
  • In Bloomsbury Rooms, Reed discusses Grant’s use of a piece of foil from a cigarette pack liner in In Memoriam as its only collaged element and says it is echoed in Woolf’s review of Edward Marsh’s 1918 memoir on Brooke (161). He also mentions that reviewers unanimously dismissed Grant’s abstract collages in the 1915 Vorticist exhibition, calling them a foreign joke (162).
  • Other important research sources on this topic include:
    • Frances Spalding’s biographies of Bell and of Grant
    • Simon Watney’s The Art of Duncan Grant
    • Douglas Turnbaugh’s Duncan Grant and the Bloomsbury Group
    • Richard Shone’s The Art of Bloomsbury
    • Bell and Nicholson’s Charleston

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A Christmas card designed by Bloomsbury artist Duncan Grant is the earliest one on display in a show of artists’ Christmas cards at Tate Britain through Feb. 1.

Grant’s signed card dates from 1913 and features a “stripey” pattern said to be borrowed from Matisse. But I found the flip side of the card reminiscent of Edvard Munch as well. You can view side one and side two of the card on the Tate’s Web site.

The Art Journal of the Taipei Times has an amusing overview of the Tate Christmas card show that includes images of clever cards from years past. You can also read the same piece, complete with links to additional sources, here.

If you have time, consider taking the Tate’s Bloomsbury Archive Journey offered online. It includes written correspondence among Bloomsbury artists and an audio interview with Grant, friend of Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes. Not knowing that this audio clip existed, listening to it took my breath away.

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