On Friday I treated myself to an evening of art at the National Portrait Gallery where I was delighted to see artist I new very little about, Laura Knight.
Dame Laura Knight was one of the most popular and successful British artists of the 20th century. Her achievements were recognised in 1936 when she became the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy since its foundation. Knight used portraiture to capture life and culture, and her paintings are remarkable for their diverse range of subjects and settings. Her artistic career took her from Cornwall to Baltimore, and from the circus to the Nuremberg Trials. She painted dancers at the Ballet Russes and Gypsies at Epsom races, and was acclaimed for her work as an official war artist.
Knight managed to really capture all her models and the detail that went into her work was incredible. I am definitely excited for her biography Laura Knight: A Life by Barbara C. Morden to come out this October to read more about such an inspirational artist. I urge you to go see this stunning exhibition for yourselves, you have until the 13th October so there's no excuse not to, but for now, here's a few of my favourtie Laura Knight portraits.
Gypsy Splendor, 1939
Self Portrait, 1913. This self portrait was a defining work in Knight's career. The female nude was a historically male subject, and when Knight was a student, women art students were denied access to nude models, working instead from statues and plaster casts.
Joan Rhodes, 1955
Ethel Bartlett, 1926
Ruby loftus Screwing a Breech Ring, 1943
The Gypsy, 1939