LONDON - In 1925, The Grosvenor School of Modern Art was founded in an old town house in Warwick Square, Pimlico. Over the course of the next two decades, this private institution became the hub for a body of daring and keenly inventive artists who changed the course of British printmaking.
Led by the charismatic Claud E. Flight, a tutor at the school and author of a number of seminal texts on printing, the group counted Cyril Edward Power, Sybil Andrews and Swiss printmaker Lill Tschudi as its core members.
Lill Tschudi’s In the Circus (C. LT 23). Estimate £5,000–7,000. Offered in the Prints and Multiples sale on 16 September.
Using the recently developed linoleum cut as their principal medium, The Grosvenor School promoted a keen interest in the technological advancements of the age – machinery, aircrafts and automobiles are recurring emblems within their works. Displayed in a highly dynamic and abstract style, these objects take on a monumental quality reflective of the artist’s excitement and wonder surrounding the modern age.
Cyril Edward Power’s The Eight (C. CEP 18). Estimate £40,000–60,000. Offered in the Prints and Multiples sale on 16 September.
Despite their infatuation with technology, members of The Grosvenor School were also passionate about nature and the human form. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Cyril Edward Power’s piece, The Eight, produced in 1930. Illustrating a group of eight rowers on Hammersmith Bridge during the trials for Head of the River Race, the print focuses upon the agility and concentrated strength of the human form and draws upon a variety of natural motifs. Set against a Chinese blue background, the figures cut across the picture frame, creating a near palpable feeling of energy and power. Their oars fan out around them, forming an array of bold and geometric shapes that cut the watery background into fractures. Meanwhile, the presentation of rowers in a vertiginous alignment and the white, triangular mass of their bodies recalls the appearance of a budding flower or a split razor clam.
Sybil Andrews’ The Windmill (C. SA 27). Estimate £18,000–24,000. Offered in the Prints and Multiples sale on 16 September.
It is The Grosvenor School’s enthusiasm for and dynamic rendering of early 20th century culture that ultimately makes their works so engaging and delightful.
The forthcoming Prints and Multiples sale on 16 September offers a range of their most captivating prints, including Claud Flight’s rare Abstract: Dancing, Sybil Andrews’ The Windmill, and Lil Tschudi’s In the Circus.