The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time, New Edition


ISBN: 9781848221857
Artist(s): Various
Author(s): Michael Bird
Format: hardback
Year published: June 2016
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Total Pages: 288
Illustrations: 60 colour and 20 b&w

1 available

St Ives is unique in the story of modern art in Britain – and perhaps anywhere in the world. No other small seaside town has been host to such a roll-call of major artists. First published by Lund Humphries in 2008, The St Ives Artists: A Biography of Place and Time combines in-depth research with ‘startling anecdotal richness’. This beautifully produced new edition is fully revised and newly illustrated in colour throughout.

Michael Bird’s groundbreaking study lifts ‘St Ives’ out of its niche and explores the many – often unexpected – connections between St Ives artists and wider currents in 20th-century British culture and society. At the same time it 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 strong meanings for their work.

The narrative highlights the interplay between modern art’s large-scale ambitions and its rootedness in particular places and experiences. It ranges from the tense, idealistic years between the two world wars through the birth of the Welfare State and the Cold War, to the space race of the 1960s – all of which found echoes in artists’ work. The artists themselves emerge as vivid personalities, as often embroiled in conflict as in any shared agenda. 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.

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