Winifred Knights (1899-1947), Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, London SE21, until 18th September 2016
It seems quite surprising that an artist who was a star at the Slade School and went on to be the first British woman to win the Prix de Rome is not better known. However thanks to the Dulwich Gallery and the exhibition’s curator Sacha Llewellyn this is very eloquently being put right.
Knights’ inspiration was the Italian Quattrocento and this is very clearly reflected in her detailed work which while being of her time recalls palette-wise the frescoes of the early Renaissance. The exhibition follows her life chronologically and features drawings, studies and large works.
The exhibition, which I warmly recommend to you, is perhaps best summed up by Sacha Llewellyn who says: “Although never part of the modernist avant-garde, Knights engaged with modern-life subjects, breathing new life into figurative and narrative painting to produce an art that was inventive and technically outstanding. She explored form and colour to create a mood of calmness and reflection that impacts directly on our senses. Like so many women artists, heralded and appreciated in their own day, she has disappeared into near oblivion. This exhibition, in bringing together a lifetime of work, will create an irrefutable visual argument that she was one of the most talented and striking artists of her generation.”
Please do go and see for yourself!