Art History Lecture: Women Who Pushed the Envelope


Free Art History Lecture > Vanessa Bell and Gwen John: Women Who Pushed the Artistic Envelope in Early 20th-Century Britain

They pursued very different life journeys and created completely distinctive art, yet the British artists Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) and Gwen John (1876–1939) had much in common. Both were born in the Victorian era that expected quite little from women, yet each in her own way surprised—sometimes shocked—their contemporaries while making forward-looking artworks still admired today.

Women in art history
Gwen John, “Self-Portrait,” 1902, oil on canvas
Women in art history
Vanessa Bell, “Self-Portrait,” ca 1915, oil on canvas laid on panel

Bell was both a painter and interior designer, a leading member of the Bloomsbury Group in London, and sister of the writer Virginia Woolf. Although born in Wales, John spent most of her life painting in France, where she became one of Auguste Rodin’s many models and lovers. During her lifetime, she was overshadowed by her famous artist-brother Augustus John, but now her reputation has eclipsed his.

Fine Art Connoisseur editor-in-chief Peter Trippi traces these artists’ colorful lives and career paths while examining their important achievements.

Art History Lecture Details:
Thursday, June 10, 2021
5:30 pm ET
Free registration: click here

Peter TrippiTrippi is also president of Projects in 19th-Century Art, a firm he established to pursue research, writing, and curating opportunities. Based in New York City, Trippi directed the Dahesh Museum of Art and co-curated international touring exhibitions devoted to J.W. Waterhouse (1849–1917) and Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912).

His Waterhouse monograph was published by Phaidon Press in 2002 and he authored an essay in the catalogue that accompanied the James Tissot exhibition seen in San Francisco and Paris in 2019–20. His current exhibition, “Artful Stories: Paintings from Historic New England,” was co-curated with Nancy Carlisle and is on view at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts, through October 2021.

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