This summer we shine a spotlight on a brief but intense period of inspirational printmaking during the 1930s, with the first major show of work by artists from the Grosvenor School, including the teacher and artist Claude Flight and his students Sybil Andrews, Cyril Power, Lill Tschudi, William Greengrass and Leonard Beaumont.
The school, which was founded in Pimlico in 1925, played a key role in the story of modern art and quickly became a leading force in the production of modern printmaking, in particular, linocuts. The students became renowned for their iconic, vibrant prints that championed the energy of contemporary life in the inter-war years. Whilst considering the radical expressions of the avant-garde values of Futurism, Vorticism and Cubism, the Grosvenor School brought their own unique interpretation of the contemporary world, incorporating elements of art deco, a punchy geometric style and a vivid palette which went on to define the medium of linocut.
Arranged thematically, this show will focus on the key components which made-up the dynamic and rhythmic visual imagery of the Grosvenor School including speed and movement, industry and labour, art, sport and leisure, whilst also looking at materials and technique. Vibrant and bold with saturated colours, the Grosvenor School broke new ground in the practice of the new block-print medium of the linoleum cut. The exhibition will feature original tools, lino blocks and studies showing how the school revolutionised the process which involved layering up vivid inks in order to produce their distinctive and colourful ‘pop’ version of modernism.
Highlights will include Flight’s seminal image of movement, Brooklands, which shows a racing car thundering around the Brooklands track in Surrey and several works depicting London transport including Power’s The Tube Station.
As part of the exhibition, Japanese paper cut artist, Nahoko Kojima will create a unique sculpture for the Gallery’s entrance hall. This installation will respond to the power of narrative and movement that is represented through the work of The Grosvenor School artist’s linocuts.
Image credit: Cyril Power, The Tube Station, 1932, © The Estate of Cyril Power. All Rights Reserved, 2019 / Bridgeman Images