‘Gifted’ presented more than 80 works that have been generously given to Charleston in recent years, with many of the portraits of Bloomsbury lovers, friends, children and grandchildren unveiled for the first time.
Showcasing works by artists including Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, Roger Fry, Walter Sickert, Henry Tonks and Lettice Ramsay, the exhibition explored the artistic expression of family life and personal relationships through a selection of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks, prints and photographs.
Angelica Garnett, the daughter of artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, generously donated a collection of works on paper and canvases to Charleston in 2008. Many of the works in the exhibition illuminate her parent’s artistic practice and had formerly filled the drawers, folios and studio racks at Charleston.
One of the highlights of the exhibition was a portrait of Vanessa Bell by Duncan Grant which had recently been allocated to Charleston and acquired for the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme, administered by the Arts Council. The painting is quintessentially a Charleston painting. A portrait of an artist by an artist, of a friend by a friend and of a lover by their lover. Painted during the uncertainty of wartime, quite possibly at Charleston itself, it marks the development of a friendship into a love affair while defining the development of an artist’s individual style.
Banner image: Duncan Grant, portrait of Vanessa Bell, 1915 © The Charleston Trust.
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