Figures in the City: Picturing People in Post-War London
In the years after the Second World War, London was dark, grimy and gap-toothed by bomb damage. Yet alongside austerity and the frantic race to rebuild and refurbish there was also enormous creativity and a longing for beauty and glamour.
Young artists, such as Lucien Freud, John Craxton and John Minton were developing stark new styles of representing people, taking their inspiration from Surrealism, Expressionism and Romanticism. Francis Bacon was producing dramatic and shocking distortions of the human figure while tutors art the Royal Academy Schools were still forbidding their students to look at the work of such artists as Picasso.
Documentary photographers created poignant essays showing the hardships of post-war life at the same time as Cecil Beaton conjured lavish tableaux of opulent pastel-shaded ball-gowns modelled by debutantes.
In this talk we will look at the changing face of post-war London, seen through the eyes of artists beginning to make their names and featuring gambling, gangsters and glamour alongside compelling images and a journey that would lead (for some) to super-stardom.
Interested in this lecture?
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