Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)

Design for Omega Rug

Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)
Design for Omega Rug
inscribed with Omega symbol (lower right), twice stamped with Omega imprint (in the margins)
oil on paper
12 x 23 in. (30.5 x 58.5 cm.)
Painted in 1914.
The Artist's Estate.
with Anthony d'Offay Gallery, London, 1970, where purchased by the present owner in 1987.
Q. Bell, Bloomsbury, London, 1974 edition, pp. 48-9.
R. Shone, Bloomsbury Portraits, Oxford, 1976, pp. 116-7, pl. 70.
I. Anscombe, Omega and After: Bloomsbury and the Decorative Arts, London, 1981, rug illustrated pl. 13.
J. Collins, The Omega Workshops, London, 1984, rug illustrated pl. 40.
Exhibition catalogue, The Omega Workshops Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920, London, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, 1984, no. 8, illustrated.
R. Cork, Art Beyond the Gallery in Early 20th Century England, New Haven and London, 1985, pl. 179, preliminary design.
R. Shone, exhibition catalogue, The Art of Bloomsbury Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, London, Tate Gallery, 1999, pp. 170-1, no. 92, illustrated.
London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Hayward Gallery, Vorticism and its Allies, March - June 1974, no. 121.
New York, Davis and Long, Vanessa Bell A Retrospective Exhibition, April - May 1980, no. 20.
London, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, The Omega Workshops Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920, January - March 1984, no. 8.
London, Kiddell Gallery, The Charleston Artists: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and their friends, December 1984 - January 1985, no. 36.
London, Anthony d'Offay Gallery, In Celebration of Charleston, June - July 1986, no. 5.
Barcelona, Caixa de Pensions, El Grup de Bloomsbury, September - October 1986, no. 41.
New York, Hirschl and Adler, British Modernist Art 1905-1930, November 1987 - January 1988, no. 107.
London, Tate Gallery, The Art of Bloomsbury Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, November 1999 - January 2000, no. 92: this exhibition travelled to San Marino, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, March - April 2000; and New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, May - September 2000.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

In early 1914 Lady Hamilton, wife of General Sir Ian Hamilton, commissioned the Omega Workshops to decorate and provide furnishings for several rooms in her new London home at 1 Hyde Park Gardens. Besides painted friezes, inlaid furniture, mosaics and stained glass, a special rug for the entrance hall was designed by Bell. This was produced in sufficient quantities for four matching examples to be used in the Hamiltons' house, and further ones to be shown in June - July 1914 at the Omega display at the Allied Artists' Association, Holland Park Hall. More than one preliminary design (e.g. Courtauld Gallery) is extant as well as this bolder and more finished design in oil on paper. With its thrusting black diagonals and sharp segments of blue and yellow, tautly contained within a red framework, this is certainly one of Bell's most exciting contributions to the Omega and is surely the most advanced applied design made at this period in Britain. The inspiration came from her screen (Painted Omega Screen (Tents and Figures), 1913; Victoria and Albert Museum, London) which in turn emerged from her easel painting Summer Camp (private collection, UK), the rug omitting the figurative elements and the sweeping curves of foliage found in the screen. With this and other designs by Bell and Grant in mind, it is difficult to justify Wyndham Lewis's claim in October 1913 that the Omega style was a debilitating exercise in mid-Victorian prettiness.

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