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Bloomsbury : its artists, authors and designers edited by Gillian Naylor

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Boston : Little, Brown, and Co., 1990. First American edition. Hardcover. 328 pages : illustrated ; 32 cm. A nice clean copy with unmarked pages and firm binding.


This book brings together for the first time the paintings, designs, and writings of the artists associated with Bloomsbury. Roger Fry and Clive Bell, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant formed the nucleus of a group of painters and critics who, inspired by French art, especially the work of Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso, set out to revitalize the avant-garde in England in the years leading up to the First World War. Bloomsbury contains more than two hundred magnificent reproductions of the group's paintings, murals, frescoes, and objets d'art.

Edited and compiled by Gillian Naylor, a leading British expert on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and design, Bloomsbury traces the origins of the group and the establishment of the unconventional Stephen "salon" at Gordon Square in Bloomsbury, which became the first center of the group's activities. The influential PostImpressionist exhibitions, organized in 1910 and 1913 by Roger Fry, established many of the group's ideals for art, and led to the founding of the Omega Workshops in 1913, in which the aesthetic theories of Post-Impressionism were to be applied to design and interiors. The painters Wyndham Lewis, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Mark Gertler, Frederick Etchells, McKnight Kauffer, and Paul Nash were among those who worked for Omega. After the workshops closed, several of the artists continued to produce murals, furniture, fabrics, and ceramics and designed and illustrated books for the Hogarth Press, founded by Leonard and Virginia Woolf.

During the First World War, Charleston, a farmhouse in Sussex, became the family retreat; the founding members of the group and their friends continued to paint there, and the house was decorated and furnished over the years in their own idiosyncratic style. Charleston became a haven for writers, including John Maynard Keynes, who wrote Economic Consequences of the Peace there, and the novelist David Garnett.

In this book, Gillian Naylor has provided biographies of key Bloomsbury figures. Their ideas for art and life are further illuminated by passages from their own letters, memoirs, diaries, and publications. In combination with the full-color photographs of the group's art, these writings offer a new perspective on a movement that has preoccupied writers and critics for more than fifty years.