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Virginia Writes, Vanessa Paints

May 5, 2014

The other day I picked up an interesting book at the local library – Vanessa and Virginia by Susan Sellers.  Written as a love letter and an elegy from Vanessa to Virginia it’s really easy to read and reveals a lot of interesting memories from the two sisters’ distressing childhood and intriguing adulthood. If you haven’t yet guest who the two sisters are, I’m talking about the most famous Virginia in literature – Virginia Woolf and her elder sister Vanessa Bell.

If you like reading books, if you like art and literature, I think you should try to find this book, as it was hard to put it down once I started reading it.

About the book:

“Vanessa and Virginia are sisters, best friends, bitter rivals, and artistic collaborators. As children, they fight for the attention of their overextended mother, their brilliant but difficult father, and their adored brother, Thoby. As young women, they support each other through a series of devastating deaths, then emerge in bohemian Bloomsbury, bent on creating new lives and groundbreaking works of art. Through everything—marriage, lovers, loss, madness, children, success and failure—the sisters remain the closest of co-conspirators. But they also betray each other.” 

Sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Stephens

Sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell Stephens

I did know a bit about Virginia, I read a few of her books, but I must admit I didn’t know anything about the family she came from or that her sister was a famous artist. So here’s some information for anyone who wants to know it all.

— — —

Vanessa Bell (née Stephen; 30 May 1879 – 7 April 1961) was an English painter and interior designer, a member of the Bloomsbury group, and the sister of Virginia Woolf.

Vanessa Bell’s significant paintings include Studland Beach (1912), The Tub (1918), Interior with Two Women (1932), and portraits of her sister Virginia Woolf (three in 1912), Aldous Huxley (1929–1930), and David Garnett (1916).

She is considered one of the major contributors to British portrait drawing and landscape art in the 20th century.

Window Still-Life, Virginia Bell, 1915

Window Still-Life, Virginia Bell, 1915

Her most innovative works, which fused fine art and decorative design, show the influence of post-Impressionism, Matisse and Cubism.

Chrysanthemums, Vanessa Bell, 1920

Chrysanthemums, Vanessa Bell, 1920

Interior With a Table, Vanessa Bell, 1921

Interior With a Table, Vanessa Bell, 1921

Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, 1912

Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell, 1912

Mrs. St John Hutchinson, Vanessa Bell, 1915

Mrs. St John Hutchinson, Vanessa Bell, 1915

If you’d like to see some more paintings by Vanessa Bell, please click here.

— — —

Information found on Wikipedia, images – on Wikipaintings.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2014 6:59 pm

    So interesting. I had no idea. I’ll look for the book. Thank you.

    • May 8, 2014 8:18 pm

      It’s a very good book, lots of interesting facts, nicely told story + if you read it after looking at Vanessa’s paintings, you might recognize some of them mentioned in the book. K.

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