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The Euston Road School

‘The Euston Road School is a term applied to a group of English painters, active either as staff or students at the School of Drawing and Painting in London between 1937 and 1939.[1]The School opened in October 1937 at premises in Fitzroy Street before moving to 314/316 Euston Road in February 1938. The School was founded by William Coldstream, Victor Pasmore and Claude Rogers. Graham Bell was a substantial theoretical influence on these teachers and Rodrigo Moynihan was also closely associated with the School.[2]Students at the school included Lawrence Gowing, Tom Carr, Peter Lanyon, Vivien John and Thelma Hulbert. The writer Adrian Stokes and the poet Stephen Spender attended drawing classes. Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant were among visiting teachers to the School.[3]The emphasis was on acute representational painting based on observation. The School emphasised naturalism and realism, in contrast to the various schools of avant-garde art then prevalent. ‘ (Wikipedia)

The first painting is quite remarkable and it’s by Rodrigo Moynihan. It was painted in 1935 - called and called ‘ objective abstraction’

‘ Between 1933 and 1936 several artists later associated with the Euston Road School produced almost or totally abstract paintings executed in a free painterlymanner. Along with Tibble and Graham Bell, Moynihan produced the most abstract of these. This example is from Objective Abstraction's middle phase, when definite marks and longer strokes had given way to denser textures. In his words: 'the gradual thickening of the paint was ... a kind of build-up as a result of correction and suggestion'. He was 'continually aware of the lung movement of paint, its ability to breathe and move upon the surface of the canvas'.( Tate Gallery)

As you know one of the members of the school was William Coldstream. I met him in 1979 at the Slade - I went to interview him for my degree thesis on the Euston Road School and it’s influence on the curriculum and the academic life of Uk art schools. I talked to him in his studio / office and he told me about how the work of Cezanne and the physical act of painting from life had influenced both his own painting and teaching philosophy. I attach a lovely painting by him. It’s called Portrait of a Lady in Pink- it’s oil on canvas 61cm x 51cm.


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