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Vanessa Bell | Post-Impressionist painter

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen; 30 May 1879 - 7 April 1961) was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury Group and the sister of Virginia Woolf (née Stephen).
Vanessa Stephen was the elder daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Duckworth.
The family included her sister Virginia, brothers Thoby (1880-1906) and Adrian (1883-1948), half-sister Laura (1870-1945) whose mother was Harriett Thackeray and half-brothers George and Gerald Duckworth; they lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate, Westminster, London.

She was educated at home in languages, mathematics and history, and took drawing lessons from Ebenezer Cook before she attended Sir Arthur Cope's art school in 1896.
She then studied painting at the Royal Academy in 1901.
Later in life, she said that during her childhood she had been sexually abused by her half-brothers, George and Gerald Duckworth.


In 1906, when Bell started to think of herself as an artist, she formed the Friday Club to create a place in London that was more favourable to painting.
Vanessa was encouraged by the Post-Impressionist exhibitions organised by Roger Fry, and she copied their bright colours and bold forms in her artworks.
In 1914, she turned to Abstraction.

Bell rejected the examples of Victorian narrative painting and rejected a discourse on the ideal and aberrant qualities of femininity.
She also designed book jackets for all of her sister Virginia's books that were published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf's publishing company, the Hogarth Press.

Bell is one of the most celebrated painters of Bloomsbury Group.
She exhibited in London and Paris during her lifetime, and has been praised for innovative works and for her contributions to design.
Bell's paintings include Studland Beach (1912), The Tub (1918), Interior with Two Women (1932), and portraits of her sister Virginia Woolf (three in 1912), Aldous Huxley (1929-1930) and David Garnett (1916).
Bell also worked with Duncan Grant to create murals for Berwick Church in Sussex (1940-42).

In 1932, Bell and Grant were commissioned to produce a dinner service for Kenneth Clark.
With oversight from Kenneth's wife Jane Clark, they produced the Famous Women Dinner Service: 50 plates painted with portraits of notable women throughout history.
The collection eventually passed on to a private collector, and passed out of public view until 2017.
The full collection was exhibited in London in early 2018. | Source: © Wikipedia

Vanessa Bell | Portrait of Virginia Woolf, 1912

Vanessa Bell (nata Stephen; Londra, 28 maggio 1879 - Charleston Farmhouse, 7 aprile 1961) è stata una pittrice ed arredatrice Britannica, membro del Bloomsbury Group e sorella di Virginia Woolf.
Nata come Vanessa Stephen, era figlia di Sir Leslie Stephen e sorella maggiore di Virginia, che in seguito divenne una famosa scrittrice col cognome del marito, Virginia Woolf.
Dopo la morte dei genitori le due sorelle Stephen si trasferirono nel distretto di Londra Bloomsbury, in una casa più grande e dove entrarono in contatto con coloro che poi entrarono nel loro circolo culturale.

Vanessa studiò arte con Sir Arthur Cope e, dopo la sua morte, alla Royal Academy.
Nel 1907 Vanessa si sposò con l'altro membro del gruppo Clive Bell e con lui ebbe due figli.
Tuttavia, già al tempo della prima guerra mondiale, entrambi i coniugi avevano relazioni con altre persone.
Vanessa frequentò per un periodo il pittore bisessuale Duncan Grant, con cui ebbe una figlia, Angelica, che avrebbe poi sposato l'ex amante del padre David Garnett.
Vanessa, Duncan ed il suo compagno David Garnett si trasferirono nella campagna del Sussex, a Charleston, poco prima dello scoppio della guerra e lì, Duncan e David (da obiettori di coscienza) dovevano lavorare la terra per sfuggire alla chiamata alle armi.

Come Duncan Grant, Vanessa contribuì agli Omega Workshops fondati da Roger Fry.
Dopo la prima guerra mondiale divenne membro del London Group.
Il figlio maggiore di Vanessa, Julian, morì durante la Guerra civile spagnola nel 1937.
Per tutta la vita il rapporto di Vanessa con Clive Bell rimase amichevole, anche mentre lei aveva dato inizio ad una collaborazione con Duncan Grant, dividendo lo stesso studio o due adiacenti e commentando i lavori l'uno dell'altra. | Fonte: © Wikipedia