We visited The Dulwich Picture Gallery for the second time on 9 July to look round the fantastic exhibition of prints made by the Grosvenor School in the 1930s, curated by Gordon Samuel of Osborne Samuel Gallery, who gave us a wonderful talk on this topic in February 2018. When Gordon talked about this forthcoming exhibition at DPG last year, he said if the Friends came, he would give us a personal tour. Good as his word, Gordon gave us a highly informative tour of the show, this made it a very special day for all those who attended.
Here’s some information from the website which I think summarises the Cutting Edge.
‘This summer, discover the pioneering printmakers who captured the spirit of 1930s Britain in this first major show of work from the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. Bringing together 120 prints, drawing and posters, Cutting Edge features iconic works from Claude Flight and eight of his leading students including Sybil Andrews, Cyril Power, Lill Tschudi, William Greengrass and Leonard Beaumont.
The School played a key role in the story of Modern art and quickly became a leading force in the production of printmaking – in particular, linocuts. The Grosvenor artists were renowned for their iconic, vibrant prints that championed the energy of contemporary life in the interwar years. Influenced by the radical expressions of Futurism, Vorticism and Cubism, the Grosvenor School gave its own unique interpretation of the contemporary world, incorporating art deco elements, a punchy geometric style and a vivid palette.
Cutting Edge champions the medium of the block-print linocut, which influential teacher and artist Claude Flight described as “an art of the people” due to its affordability and accessibility. Highlighting the radically changing times of the interwar period, the exhibition will explore themes of transport, speed and movement, industry, labour and sport and leisure, as well as showcasing the original tools, lino blocks and studies that revolutionised the printmaking process.’
Photos of the group are as ever include only some of us, I wanted to include this one because it shows Gordon Samuel in the centre of the picture:
Memorable snippets for me from the talk include the fact that linocuts weren’t made until linoleum became freely available, and the fact it was affordable made it accessible to everyone. Also the impression of speed and movement is achieved by using curved lines in the background.
I took photos of my favourite linocuts, although it was really very hard to choose, because there are so many fantastic images in the show. The one above is ‘The Plough’ by Ethel Spowers, 1928.
‘Sledgehammers’ by Sybil Andrews, 1933Do
This is ‘The Gale’ by Sybil Andrews, 1930
This is ‘Black Swans’ by Dorrit Black, 1937
‘The Runners’ Cyril Power, 1930
‘Speed Trial’ Cyril Power, 1930
‘Jeu de Boules by Lili Tschudi, 1934
‘The Tube Train’ by Cyril Powers, 1930 what was fascinating about this apart from the patterns was the social observations such as everyone is wearing a hat and reading a newspaper, and there is only one woman,
and last but by no means least, ‘The Escalator’ by Cyril Power, 1930
There were also notebooks in cabinets and in the final room some posters, which again reminded us how different things were in the 1930s when buses came ‘every minute’ and the word ‘thence’ was in common usage.
There are rave reviews for this exhibition in the Observer, Culture Whisper, and Evening Standard.
Do go if you haven’t been already, it runs until 8 September.