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Vanessa Stephen Bell

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Vanessa Stephen Bell

British, (1879–1961)
Vanessa Bell was a British artist known for her Post-Impressionist paintings which emphasized bold forms with pronounced brushstrokes and rich colors. The artist’s sister, famed author Virginia Woolf, once said Bell’s work was as “firm as marble, ravishing as a rainbow, and like sunlight crystallized.” Born Vanessa Stephen on May 30, 1879 in London, United Kingdom, she went on to study under John Singer Sargent at the Royal Academy. After the death of her parents, she settled in the Bloomsbury area of London alongside her siblings and other artists, including Clive Bell and Duncan Grant. The cast of artists and writers that frequented Bell’s house became known as the Bloomsbury Group. In 1907, she married Clive Bell, though they both had romantic relationships with others throughout their life together. Her work Iceland Poppies (1908–1909), brought her the praise of the established British painter Walter Sickert, when it was first exhibited in London. Over the following few years, Bell was introduced to the works of Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Édouard Vuillard, and others, by her friend the artist and curator Roger Fry. Just prior to the outbreak of World War I, Bell, her husband, and their friends, moved away from the city to a country home known as the Charleston Farmhouse. During their residence together, they created designs and paintings for the Omega Workshops, an enterprise started by Roger Fry to employ his artist friends, while allowing them to experiment with abstraction. Bell died on April 7, 1961 at her country home in Charleston, United Kingdom.

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