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Not currently on display at the V&A

Bathers in a Landscape

Screen
1913 (painting (image-making)), 1913 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Vanessa Bell's screen was first known as 'Tents and Figures' though at some time it has gained association with bathers. Perhaps this is because the four figures appear to be naked. The theme of naked women in the open air was prevalent in the work of painters Bell admired, such as the French artists Cezanne and Matisse.

Bell was a director of the Omega Workshop, which specialised in objects for the home such as textiles, ceramics and furniture, designed and made by young avant-garde artists. She painted this screen soon after the Workshop opened in Bloomsbury, London, in July 1913, and based it on a sketch she had made on holiday in Norfolk that August. The screen is a greatly simplified and stylised version of the sketch, but both share a pyramidal composition. The folds of the screen and the poles of the central tent emphasise this compositional device.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleTents and Figures (assigned by artist)
Materials and Techniques
Distemper on paper mounted on canvas. Painted softwood frame
Brief Description
Folding screen, 'Tents and Figures' also known as 'Bathers in a Landscape', painted by Vanessa Bell for the Omega Workshops, British, 1913, gouache on paper mounted on canvas
Physical Description
Four-leaf folding screen painted with four stylised human figures and an abstracted landscape including tents and hills, narrow black painted timber frame.
Dimensions
  • Outer panels with frame height: 178.4cm (Nicola Costaras/ Andy Thackray)
  • Outer panels with frame width: 52.3cm (Nicola Costaras/ Andy Thackray)
  • Outer panels with frame depth: 1.8cm (Nicola Costaras/ Andy Thackray)
  • Inner panles with frame height: 178.4cm (Nicola Costaras/ Andy Thackray)
  • Inner panels with frame width: 50.3cm (Nicola Costaras/ Andy Thackray)
  • Inner panels with frame depth: 1.8cm (Nicola Costaras/ Andy Thackray)
  • 200th height: cm
  • 67th width: cm
  • 58th depth: cm
of carry frame
Production typeUnique
Object history
Purchased from Mrs Helen Anrep, 1964.



This screen featured in the 'Omega Workshops Commemorative Exhibition' in December 1963 at the V&A Museum.



This screen was also exhibited in 'The Art of Bloomsbury: Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant' at the Tate Gallery from 4th November 1999 to 30th January 2000.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Vanessa Bell's screen was first known as 'Tents and Figures' though at some time it has gained association with bathers. Perhaps this is because the four figures appear to be naked. The theme of naked women in the open air was prevalent in the work of painters Bell admired, such as the French artists Cezanne and Matisse.



Bell was a director of the Omega Workshop, which specialised in objects for the home such as textiles, ceramics and furniture, designed and made by young avant-garde artists. She painted this screen soon after the Workshop opened in Bloomsbury, London, in July 1913, and based it on a sketch she had made on holiday in Norfolk that August. The screen is a greatly simplified and stylised version of the sketch, but both share a pyramidal composition. The folds of the screen and the poles of the central tent emphasise this compositional device.
Bibliographic References
  • Michael Komanecky and Virginia Fabbri Butera, The Folding Image, screens by western artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Yale University Art Gallery, 1984, no.19
  • Ian Collins, Masterpieces: Art & East Anglia, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, 2013, pp. 194-195.
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.165-1964

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record createdJanuary 19, 2006
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