I am absolutely delighted to be in conversation with biographer extraordinaire Anne de Courcy as part of the Virginia Woolf Society’s Dalloway Day this year, the theme of which is Modern/ist Women – and who could be more modern & more modernist than Nancy Cunard, the subject of Anne’s latest book:
As we will discover, Nancy Cunard’s move to Paris in the early 1920s allowed her the freedom to be fully herself as a person, poet, publisher & increasingly political activist.
And we may even pop down to the Riviera and into the life of another fabulously modern woman, Coco Chanel, if there’s time!
Our next Art, Books & Culture meeting will be on Saturday 25thJune, (11.15am-12.45pm) – please note I’ve changed the time slightly to start 11.15am so that we don’t have to wait around outside! – at the Beecroft Gallery, Southend.
In our discussions on Surrealism last month, we noted recent reports from The Guardian and Hyperallergic telling how a painting by Yves Tanguy, thought lost, had been found and restored.
Yves Tanguy: Fraud in the Garden [1930; private]
The painting’s disappearance was due to being attacked when on exhibition in 1930. The Hyperallergic article says:
On the night of December 30, 1930, members of the far-right groups the League of Patriots and the Anti-Semitic League of France raided Studio 28, an arthouse [theatre] in Paris’s artists’ district of Montmartre. They savagely attacked Tanguy’s 1930 masterpiece “Fraud in the Garden” in the cinema’s lobby, along with other works by Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, and Joan Miró.
The extremist groups were outraged at the screening of Luis Buñuel’s L’Age D’Or(1930), an avant-garde comedy satirizing the hypocrisy of the sexual mores of the bourgeois society and the Catholic Church. Co-written with Dalí, Buñuel’s surrealist film was rife with blasphemous and erotic imagery, including a sequence based on the Marquis de Sade’s novel 120 Days of Sodom featuring Jesus as a bloodthirsty sadist.
The assailants shouted “We’ll show you that there are still Christians in France!” and “Death to Jews!”
And there is a photograph of the attacked paintings:
That was in 1930 and, as we know, the right wing in Europe increased its power and domain throughout the decade particularly with Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany. Quite by chance, I discovered in the Archive at Tate Britain, the leaflet on the left here:
The “Exhibition of German 20th-century Art” was in London, 1938; a direct artistic riposte to Hitler’s staging of an exhibition of German modern art in Munich the year under the title “Degenerate Art” (the poster on the right). Our discussion this month, then, will focus both London and Munich exhibitions to explore the art of inter-war Germany and the fate of some of those artists deemed ‘degenerate’.
Our discussions cost £10 to attend (please pay on the door) and include coffee & biscuits – all welcome!
over at Pebbles cafe (in the Havens building on Hamlet Court Road)
to discuss Jerry Brotton’s book on the art collection of Charles I
Set against the backdrop of war, revolution, and regicide, and moving from London to Venice, Mantua, Madrid, Paris and the Low Countries, Jerry Brotton’s colourful and critically acclaimed book, The Sale of the Late King’s Goods, explores the formation and dispersal of King Charles I’s art collection. Following a remarkable and unprecedented Parliamentary Act for ‘The sale of the late king’s goods’, Cromwell’s republican regime sold off nearly 2,000 paintings, tapestries, statues and drawings in an attempt to settle the dead king’s enormous debts and raise money for the Commonwealth’s military forces. Brotton recreates the extraordinary circumstances of this sale, in which for the first time ordinary working people were able to handle and own works by the great masters. He also examines the abiding relationship between art and power, revealing how the current Royal Collection emerged from this turbulent period, and paints its own vivid and dramatic picture of one of the greatest lost collections in English history.
The ‘Words & Pictures’ book club is a safe and generous group of people fascinated and intrigued by art and artists to discuss books and pictures over coffee and a slice of cake – all welcome!