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3 August 2015

Studland Beach. Verso: Group of Male Nudes by Duncan Grant circa 1912 by Vanessa Bell 1879-1961

Women painters and the seaside is the theme this week  since, peaceful as it is in London, a bit of our collective hearts are under sun umbrellas on the beach. Vanessa Bell (so wonderfully played by Eve Best in Life in Squares) painted Studland Beach in 1912. It’s at the Tate and this is what their website says: ‘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.’ On the back of the painting, apparently, is a Group of Male Nudes by Duncan Grant.

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