From David Bomberg to Paula Rego: The London Group in Southampton
Southampton City Art Gallery has Britain’s largest collection of work by The London Group. The collection was started in 1954 after a highly successful London Group exhibition held during that year, and it has continued to be built up until today. For the first time the gallery is showing the historic works and work by current members alongside in a dynamic show representing many of Britain’s greatest 20th and 21st century artists including David Bomberg, Walter Sickert, LS Lowry, Henry Moore, Vanessa Bell, William Scott, Nina Hamnett, Jacob Epstein, Graham Sutherland, Mary Fedden and Paula Rego. Several of the artists including Lowry and Christopher Nevinson created paintings about Southampton.
The London Group was formed by an amalgamation of the Camden Town Group and the Vorticists in 1913. This grouping of radical young artists came together as a reaction to the stranglehold that the Royal Academy had on exhibiting contemporary art. Founder members included Spencer Gore, Wyndham Lewis, Walter Sickert and Jacob Epstein. It has a written constitution and a committee to run the Group’s affairs. New members are elected to the Group based democratically. The first exhibition was in 1914 and The Group has exhibited continually ever since. In 2014 The London Group is thriving and has more members than ever before, representing all artistic forms from painting to video and performance.
Southampton City Art Gallery is internationally renowned for its permanent collection, which spans eight centuries and tells the story of western art from the Renaissance to the present day. The core of the collection is twentieth century and contemporary British art. Strong clusters within this element include Post-Impressionism (notably the Camden Town Group and The London Group), Surrealism, St Ives and progressive contemporary art from the mid-1970s. Opened in April 1939 within Southampton’s Civic Centre, the art gallery offers high quality exhibitions ranging from painting, sculpture and drawing, to photography and film, as well as displays that change regularly to ensure new experiences with each visit.
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