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British and Irish Art 1945-1951: From War to Festival

British and Irish Art 1945-1951: From War to Festival


This radical re-examination of one of the crucial periods of modern British and Irish art demolishes the idea that control of the art world passed after the War from rich individuals to faceless state institutions. Through detailed analysis of unpublished private letters and manuscripts, the machinations of committees, and contemporary newspaper reports, the author demonstrates that the public school and Oxbridge elite retained its hold upon the levers of power within the new state-run art institutions.


This highly original book puts history back into the history of art. It approaches the British and Irish art worlds from the historical viewpoint, avoiding theories unsupported by facts. By studying the intricate mechanisms whereby artists turned oil on canvas into money - or not - the book explains how artists' reputations were made or broken. Individual artists discussed include Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Henry Moore, John Piper, Graham Sutherland, Gerard Dillon, Robert Colquhoun, Paul Nash and many more. Readers will be startled and intrigued to find how such artists fought to survive amid the network of powerful individuals, critics and gallery owners that controlled their destinies.

  • Adrian Clark

    272 pages, hardback

    210 x 135 mm, 24 b/w illustrations
    ISBN: 978 0 955406 34 8

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