Abstract Canvas Prints : Michelangelo
Some say that when Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘On or about December 1910 human character changed’ in her famous 1923 essay Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown, she was referring to Roger Fry’s 1910 exhibition.
Life had certainly changed for him. He mounted the Grafton Galleries show shortly after being sacked as a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, having fallen out with the then chairman, financier John Pierpont Morgan (as in J. P. Morgan), who had been responsible for hiring Fry in the first place.
Up until then their professional relationship had been mutually beneficial.
Fry’s eye and Morgan’s money worked in harmony.
It was during this period that Fry discovered the avant-garde art scene in Paris. It changed him and his view of art.
He ceased his curatorial work on past art movements and instead focused his efforts on the present.
In 1909 he published his Essay in Aesthetics, in which he described Post-Impressionism as ‘the discovery of the visual language of the imagination’.
Now, in the great scheme of things, that statement makes absolutely no sense, seeing that most of the art produced prior to the arrival of the Impressionists was make-believe.
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
What is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling if not the ‘visual language of the imagination’?
But in the context of an artistic movement that had developed out of the Impressionists’ strict adherence to objectivity and everyday life, it does add up.
In their own way, each of the four Post-Impressionists (Fry had also included Matisse and Picasso in his 1910 show but they came to be filed – at least for a while – under Fauvism and Cubism respectively) discovered a potent artistic concoction when mixing core Impressionist principles with ‘the visual language of the imagination’.
Much thanks to Will Gompertz’s book What Are You Looking At….some of the blog is directly taken from this fantastic book.