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The influential world of the Bloomsbury Group of artists on view at Abbot Hall Art Gallery
Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973), Still life with lemons, bowl, cup and knife. Signed (and numbered 15 of 100) coloured lithograph, 27 x 35cm. The Radev Collection© Succession Picasso. All rights reserved, DACS.

CUMBRIA.- This autumn Abbot Hall Art Gallery hosts the Radev Collection as the gallery explores the inspiring and influential world of the Bloomsbury Group of artists. The Gallery is the only Northern venue to date to show this private collection which has only recently been shown to the public. The exhibition contains a stellar list of artwork including pieces by Duncan Grant, Alfred Wallis, Ivon Hitchens, Ben Nicholson, Keith Vaughan, Graham Sutherland, Pablo Picasso, Lucien Pissarro and Vanessa Bell.

The Bloomsbury Group or Bloomsbury Set was an enormously influential group of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists, the best known members of which included Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Vanessa and Clive Bell and Duncan Grant. This collective of friends and relatives lived, worked or studied together near Bloomsbury, London, during the first half of the twentieth century.

The Radev Collection is named after Mattei Radev, who came to Britain in the 1950’s as a stowaway on a cargo ship, fleeing from communism in his native Bulgaria. Radev went on to build a new life in London mixing with the artistic Bloomsbury circle and becoming a leading picture framer for the London Galleries. Radev inherited most of the works from his friend the artist-dealer Eardley Knollys who had in turn inherited from music critic Eddy Sackville-West following the latter’s death in 1965.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery boasts an impressive collection of modern and contemporary artwork including work by Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland and Ivon Hitchens. This exhibition complements our impressive collection and transforms our intimate galleries with a sublime collection of masterpieces providing the opportunity to be submerged into the world of the Bloomsbury Group.

Julian Machin, Curator of the Radev Collection says ‘The remarkable thing about this Collection is it is deeply personal as it has been formed by three individuals over the course of time. The variety and strength of the collection makes it fit like a hand in glove into Abbot Hall, a gallery known for its high standard of exhibitions.’

Helen Watson, Director Exhibitions & Collections, Lakeland Arts Trust says ‘From my first visit to view this eclectic Collection I was overwhelmed by the quality of artwork and breadth of artists. The exhibition features work by some of the greatest British and international artists from the twentieth century and tells the intriguing story of the people behind this fabulous Collection.’

This exhibition has toured around the UK stopping at Pallant House in Chichester, Lincoln Art Gallery, Falmouth Art Gallery, The Victoria Art Gallery in Bath and Redfern Gallery, London.

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