My name is John and I am not interested in the O******s. There I’ve said it! They say that admitting there is a problem is a major step on the road to helping overcome that problem. So attending this meeting of Can’t Be A***ed About The O*******s Anonymous is important in facing my indifference. In fact, it’s worse than that. Apart from watching the occasional game of baseball on ESPN America, I’m not interested in sport at all!
So what did I do last Sunday while Bradley Wiggins was pedalling up the Champs Elysees to win the Tour de France, a South African playing for South Africa (as opposed to one of the South Africans playing for England) was scoring a triple century, and an Aussie was throwing away a huge lead in the Open? I was throwing a ball for my son’s dog in the back garden.
So have the O******s had any effect on me? Yes they have. They’ve put London “out-of-bounds” for the month of August. I want to see the Impressionist exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Titian exhibition at the National Gallery. Both will have to wait until September.
But in this Summer of Sport with Euro 2012, Andy Murray getting to the Wimbledon final and such like, there was one sports-related occasion which interested me. That was a sale at Bonhams in April.
According to Wikipedia “The Grosvenor School of Modern Art was a British Art School founded by the printmakers and linocut artists Claude Flight, Cyril Edward Power and Sybil Andrews in 1925. Attracting a cross-section of students from across the globe (including Swiss artist Lill Tschudi), the Grosvenor School of Modern Art became a leading force in the production and promotion of modernistic printmaking works while teaching a solid foundation of art history, with each artist lecturing on their speciality.”
Flight was a fervent promoter of the linoleum cut technique from the time he first used it in 1919. He felt by promoting the use of the cheap and easily obtained new material he was making it possible for the masses to be exposed to art. He saw in it the potentiality of a truly democratic art form.
Printed on fine oriental tissue paper, they were intended to be affordable – priced to pay the cost of production with a couple of pints of beer and a visit to the cinema thrown in. At the First Exhibition of British Linocuts held at the Redfern Gallery in London in 1929, prices were from one to three guineas.
The chief characteristics of these linocuts are their clean-cut blocks of colour and sense of dynamic movement and design, somewhere between Futurism and Art Deco. Sport and modern urban transport were their most popular subjects.
My favourite artist from the Grosvenor School was Lill Tschudi. Lot 39 in the sale was Tschudi’s “Gymnastic Exercises” which sold for £10,625.
“The Runners” by Cyril Power was estimated at £10,000 to £15,000 but was sold for just short of £40,000. The sale catalogue quoted “Linocuts of the Machine Age” by Stephen Coppel: “Power would often go and watch the Amateur Athletic Association championships at the White City Stadium.”
Sybil Andrews was a British Canadian. Her “Water Jump” was sold for £18,750 while her “Speedway”, which was used for the catalogue cover, sold for £82,850. According to Coppel “The image of a motor-bike trials was originally conceived as a poster commission for the London Passenger Transport Board in the 1930s, although no poster was ever made.”
As I mentioned earlier, I particularly like the work of the Swiss artist Lill Tschudi. A copy of one of my favourite prints of hers “Ice Hockey” was in the sale.
As part of the printmaking course I will be taking soon with OCA, I will be doing some linoprinting so I hope to have the opportunity to do thid print at some stage.
Finally here are two other prints by Tschudi from the sale which could be linked with the O******s. The first shows the Underground, a cause of worry for some before the Games. The second may reflect life in the athletes village!