As a young artist in the early 30’s Isobel Rawsthorne was studio assistant to Jacob Epstein and in the 1930’s and 40’s Alberto Giacometti, was her closest artistic and romantic relationship. Her drawings in this exhibition have a connection to his famously skeletal sculptures. Rawsthorne’s friendship with Francis Bacon in the 50’s and 60’s culminated in an exhibition of her dancers at his Gallery, the Marlborough.
For nearly twenty years, she drew and painted her friends the prima ballerinas Margot Fonteyn, Antoinette Sibley and Rudolph Nureyev in the rehearsal rooms at Covent Garden. Her works are as much portraits as they are an exploration of dance and movement. These are now nostalgic names in the history of dance, but for artists of Isabel’s generation, the inheritors of the age of Serge Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes, dance was the cutting edge of the avant-garde, a potent synthesis of new music, art and physical expression. Both Rawsthorne and Fonteyn were both independent and experimental in their field and they shared a lover in Constant Lambert, Artistic Director at Covent Garden.
The exhibition is on loan from the Isabel Rawsthorne Collection, it will be touring to the Royal Opera House, London in February 2013.
Thursday 14 June, 6-8pm
Free. Family, friends and colleagues welcome.
Come and try to draw the dancers who will performing live at the opening.
Saturday 21 July, 2pm
Curator Carol Jacobi talks about the web of artistic and creative relationships surrounding Isabel Rawsthorne’s life and art.
Book your free place in advance by calling 01922 654400.
Image credit: Isabel Rawsthorne, Nureyev and Fonteyn, late 1960’s, mixed media on board.