I’ll be speaking at Sewanee in a couple of weeks time on the subject of Manet or the Post-Impressionists. (No prizes for guessing what I’ll be doing between now and then!) The talk is being given in conjunction with an exhibition at Sewanee’s University Art Gallery. It’s called The New English Art Club: Figurative Painting from Britain.
Here’s a brief description of the talk:
We are currently celebrating two notable anniversaries in the history of British art: the centenary of the first Post-Impressionist Show (1910-11) and the 125th year of the founding of the New English Art Club (NEAC) in 1886. This talk looks at the connection between the show and the club, exploring Roger Fryâ€™s groundbreaking show, Manet and the Post-Impressionists, in relationship to the history of the NEAC. A former member of the club, Fryâ€™s increasing disillusionment with the NEAC found an outlet in his activities as a curator. The exhibition, then, was not simply about introducing a new group of artists to a bemused London audience, as it is generally remembered. It was about which French artists might provide the most useful models for contemporary British artists. Manet, in particular, was strongly associated with the NEACâ€™s aesthetic agenda, and Fryâ€™s curating both acknowledged this primacy and worked to supplant it. He was offering a choice of Manet (and the NEAC) or The Post-Impressionists.
William Orpen’s Homage to Manet includes several members of the club and was first shown at the club’s 1909 exhibition. It’s going to be a crucial image in my talk.