Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love & Legacy opens at York Art Gallery

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A MAJOR new exhibition is planned for York featuring the writers, artists and thinkers who have had a profound effect on British art and literature.

Beyond Bloomsbury: Life, Love & Legacy at York Art Gallery explores the lives and works of members of the Bloomsbury Group, who met over 30 years in the first half of the 20th century.

Key figures included writer and feminist pioneer Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, the painter.

The exhibition, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and Sheffield Museums, runs from Friday 3 March to Sunday 5 June.

The exhibitions will feature over 60 major loans of oil paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs by Bell and his contemporaries, including Dora Carrington, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Paul Nash, Gwen Raverat and Ray Strachey.

There will also be new works by artist Sahara Longe, specially commissioned by York Museums Trust and Sheffield Museums.

Visitors will also see the exclusive premiere of Bloomsbury-inspired murals designed by graphic designer Lydia Caprani who has also worked with the York LGBT Forum and Kyra Women’s Group to create decorative pieces for the exhibition.

The Bloomsbury group is famous for its members’ unconventional relationships with each other and recognized for contributing to monumental changes in the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Writer Dorothy Parker remarked that the Bloomsbury group “lived in squares, painted in circles, and loved in triangles”.

The works on display at York Art Gallery will examine the circle of close friends, their ideas, their creative endeavors and celebrate the group’s LGBTQ+ relationships.

Becky Gee, Curator of Fine Arts at York Museums Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to tell the stories not only of the artists, but also of the writers, dancers, activists and philanthropists who were linked to the Bloomsbury Group.

“We are also delighted to be working with painter Sahara Longe who has produced four new portraits that will go perfectly with those in the National Portrait Gallery collection.”

Visitors will walk through three parts of the exhibition. The first introduces the personalities associated with the Bloomsbury group, emphasizing the importance of personal relationships, conversation, and the privilege of time and space in which to pursue creative practice.

The second part focuses on the Omega workshops, a company created by Roger Fry in 1913 which sold furniture, fabrics and household items designed by the greatest artists of the time.

The final section focuses on activism and philanthropy, identifying causes that are of particular importance to individual members, while acknowledging how these beliefs and actions have shaped the mindset of the Group as a whole. The Bloomsbury Group participated in the creation of the Contemporary Art Society.

Tickets cost £10 per adult, concessions available.

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