The St Ives Artists Paperback

The St Ives Artists Paperback

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First published by Lund Humphries in 2008, The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time has become the classic account of the St Ives group of artists. Our beautifully produced new edition, published in 2016, is now available in an accessible paperback format.

The flourishing of international modernism in Cornwall was a unique episode in the story of modern art in Britain – perhaps anywhere in the world. No other small seaside town has been host to such a roll-call of major artists. Weaving in-depth research into a narrative of ‘startling anecdotal richness’, Michael Bird explores the many – often unexpected – connections between St Ives artists and broader currents in 20th-century British history. He sets the careers of international artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon in the context of a local environment that held powerful meanings for their work.

Bird examines the influence of the two world wars, the birth of the Welfare State and the Cold War, the space race of the 1960s – all of which found echoes in artists’ work – as well as the position of women artists in St Ives, the role of social class, and relations between artists and the community. The artists themselves emerge as vivid personalities. Do Alfred Wallis, Naum Gabo, Bernard Leach and Roger Hilton really have anything in common? The answers Michael Bird uncovers add up to a fascinating and highly readable account of the St Ives phenomenon.

Barbara Hepworth (1903–1975) is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. She was at the forefront of multiple avant-garde art movements, with wide-ranging interests that infused her work. Deeply spiritual and passionately engaged with political and technological change, Hepworth focused on the dynamic physical encounter with sculpture and how this could allow the viewer to both reflect on and alter their perceptions and experiences of the world.

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Barbara Hepworth

The Hepworth Wakefield opened in 2011 to house the Wakefield Council Permanent Art Collection and provide a legacy for Barbara Hepworth in the town in which she was born.

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