Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Vanessa Bell - The Beach, Studland

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen; 30 May 1879 – 7 April 1961) was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury group, and the sister of Virginia Woolf.

Studland Beach is in a quiet bay in Dorset. The idea of the beach as a place for leisure activities was relatively new in 1912. It is a sign of their modernity that Vanessa Bell and her Bloomsbury Group friends holidayed there.This is one of several works by Bell from 1911–2 which show a debt to Matisse in their simplified design and bold colouring. Though an exercise in what her friends called ‘significant form’ (emphasising form rather than subject matter), the picture retains some of the feel of a sunny day spent on the sand and in the water.

The Beach, Studland

I found this painting in the Sotheby's June 1995 program, it is of an area of beach in Dorset called Studland bay. The style is indebted to Maurice Denis, like Denis, Vanessa composes her figures into rhythmic groups, the emphasis on silhouette showinga concern for the decorative unity of the picture surface. The figure lying down in a straw boater is said to be Virginia Woolf, who visited Studland around the same time. The standing figure is thought to represent Vanessa herself. (the lines are not meant to be there, it's a bad scan)

Here is a portrait she did of Virginia (Woolf)

And here is one of Aldous Huxley

Here's Baigneuses by Maurice Denis...

When i googled the title this came up which is also by Vanessa Bell and is slightly different, note how the standing figure which was meant to be herself is changed. I'm presuming this to be the finished version and the one from the Sotheby's catalogue to be an initial working of the painting.

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