16th June, 2023 – Art & Coffee Discussion Group at The Beaumont: Nina Hamnett & Friends – Marie Vassilieff

Today we continue our discussion of the art & life of Nina Hamnett (1890-1956), with particular reference to her time in Montparnasse, Paris where we will meet friend and fellow-artist Marie Vassilieff (1884-1957) who gave Nina this beautiful painting as a gift:

Titled “Circus”, the painting is now in a private collection. This image is c/o Sotheby‘s where, in the Catalogue Note they say: “Circus was a present from Vassilieff to her friend, the English artist Nina Hamnett. It reflects the lively energy and spirit of the bohemian Montparnasse, where Vassilieff and Hamnett operated what was in effect a cheap private club for artists, including Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Pablo Picasso.”

This meeting is free & open to all, whether resident or not – I look forward to seeing you!.

À bientôt!


A few useful references for further reading & independent research:

Nina Hamnett’s autobiographies: “Laughing Torso” (1932) focuses her early life through to the mid-1920s; the tale continues in “Is She A Lady?” (1955). Denise Hooker’s brilliant biography of Hamnett “Queen of Bohemia” was published in 1986 and Alicia Foster’s short introduction in 2021.

Alicia Foster has also written a very interesting article on the artuk.org website [click here] which has six paintings by Hamnett in its online collection; Rebecca Birrell’s chapter on the early still life paintings in terms of Hamnett’s bedsit freedom is in her book “This Dark Country” (2021); the HyperAllergic magazine review of the exhibition at Charleston is here; and the 1955 photographs of Nina Hamnett can be seen on the Adrian Flowers website here.

(I shall keep adding to these as we go along)


About TheCommonViewer

Independent Researcher: gently exploring the art and artists of early 20th century Britain (with forays elsewhere, in particular Russian Art History); the Art, Books & History Group meets monthly in Southend-on-Sea Twitter: @TheCommonViewer

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