LONDON GROUP
'The London Group' wrote Roger Fry, 'has done for postImpressionism in England what the New English Art Club did, in a previous generation, for Impressionism'. To a greater extent than the NEAC however -- indeed, more than any other British exhibiting society -- the London Group has contrived to avoid that hardening of the critical arteries which comes to affect most such societies with the passing of the years; of all those in Britain it remains the most broadly representative of all that is best in nonacademic painting and sculpture. Founded in 1914, its origins lie a decade further back. When Sickert returned to London in 1905 he at once became the centre of a group of painters -most notably Lucien Pissarro, Harold Gilman, Charles Ginner and Spencer Gore -- who looked to Gauguin and the other poet-Impressionists rather than to the watered-down Impressionism of the NEAC. These artists met regularly at Sickert's studio at 19 Fitzroy Street; they stood for urban and 'low life' subject-matter, for a light palette and a high colour key, and opposed the jury system of exhibition selection. The Allied Artists Association, which also subscribed to the latter viewpoint, held a first exhibition in 1908 at which over 3,000 works were shown. Considering this scale of operations so vast as to defeat its own objects, the Fitzroy painters finally founded, in 1911 (the year following Fry's first post-Impressionist exhibition), the Camden Town Group, which held its first showing at the Carfax Gallery under the presidency of Gore. Among the original sixteen members, besides Sickert, Pissarro, Gilman, Ginner and Gore, were W. Baynes, R. Bevan, J. D. Innes, A. John, H. Lamb and J. B. Manson. In 1914, under the presidency of Gilman, the Group amalgamated with several smaller groups -notably the Vorticists -- to form the London Group (the name was suggested by Epstein), showing as such in the same year at the Goupil Gallery. Among the new members were D. Bomberg, Sylvia Gosse, W. Lewis, J. Nash, C. R. W. Nevinson and E. Wadsworth; other names which became associated with the London Group within the next few years were those of V. Bell, D. Grant, M. Gertler, B. Meninsky and P. Nash. Today the membership stands at about ninety, and embraces painters and sculptors of every creed from the most realistic to the completely non-figurative, quality and integrity being the Group's only concern. Participation in its annual exhibitions is open to non-members and it is thus to the London Group that many young artists look for their first showing.
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