ITHACA, NY.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
at Cornell University will present A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections from July 18 to October 18, 2009.
Conceived to exemplify the breadth and strength of the complex artistic output of the Bloomsbury artists, the exhibition will include over 190 paintings, watercolors, drawings, books from the Hogarth Press, and decorative works from the Omega Workshops.
"A hundred years after the Bloomsbury group was established," says Nancy E. Green, the organizing curator and the Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Johnson Museum, "their story still resonates and brings together a variety of interests across many artistic and intellectual pursuits."
The name Bloomsbury conjures up an image of early twentieth-century Bohemia, where a core group of literary friends that included Virginia Woolf, Lytton Strachey, and E. M. Forster were joined by a host of other writers, including D. H. Lawrence; philosophers such as Bertrand Russell; economist John Maynard Keynes; and poets like T. S. Eliot. But Bloomsbury was much more richly patterned and complex than even this eminent list suggests. A group of fine artists, including Virginia Woolf's sister Vanessa Bell, critic and painter Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey's talented cousin Duncan Grant, and Dora Carrington, Strachey's longtime companion, formed the nucleus of visual Bloomsbury.
Although of another place and time, the Bloomsbury group confronted issues that are remarkably current: international crises, war, the value of craft in an industrialized world, women's rights, environmental protection, and the search for the true, the good, and the beautiful in their art and their lives. The exhibition, by examining the group's responses to these issues, provides a valuable mirror on how people can address similar concerns today.