Published in conjunction with the Tate, who very much have skin in this game, this thorough but eminently accessible volume presents an overview of the artists who have worked in St Ives.
The approach is broadly chronological, but is not so rigid that schools, groupings and movements cannot be accommodated. There is, inevitably, a lot of information and this is not something for those who would prefer a coffee table book concentrating on the works themselves, although it is comprehensively illustrated. At the same time, it is not so academic as to be of interest only to the dedicated historian of the period. This is a difficult balance to achieve, but something Chris Stephens has pulled off really rather admirably.
Although the main period of the St Ives school covered only some twenty-five years, the story continues into the 1960s and concludes with the opening of Tate St Ives in 1993. The names you’d expect to find are all here: Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron, but so too are less well-known names as well as sources of influence from Europe and elsewhere.
This is a story worth telling and, although much has been written about the art of St Ives, none of it has quite encompassed the arc of history that is contained here.
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