Modern Art and St Ives explores how the St Ives artists were part of the global modern art scene of the 20th century. It is richly illustrated with paintings, sculpture and ceramics. Published to coincide with a major exhibition at Tate St Ives (17 May – 28 September 2014).
The art of post-war St Ives drew upon two key strands of modern art. The first was the utopian ideal of Constructivism, that began in Moscow in the 1910s and continued through Berlin and Paris between the wars. St Ives-born Peter Lanyon, for example, began making constructions in 1939 when he was working in the studio of Russian sculptor Naum Gabo. (On the outbreak of World War II Gabo had followed Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson to St Ives). The second strand was the tradition of craft and the handmade. Carving and ceramic work from all over Europe can be compared with the St Ives work of this period, and shared influences understood in each.
Major works by leading St Ives artists are placed alongside that of their contemporaries from elsewhere in Europe, North America and beyond. Works from public and private collections in the UK and abroad help to situate artists’ engagement with St Ives within wider global artistic and aesthetic concerns.
Chris Stephens, lead Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain,
Sara Matson, curator at Tate St Ives,
Rachel Smith, Doctoral Student at the Tate Research Centre for Creative Communities,
Paul Denison, Principal Lecturer (International Affairs), School of Arts & Media, Teesside University
Michael White, Reader in History of Art, University of York.
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