Frances Jayne Newman fine art

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Scene Unseen II 9th May - 1st July 2008

The Artist in Britain and the Workplace (continued from previous page)

   The Hospital Radio DJ’s Conte chalk on paper 2007 59.5cm x 84cm

The Artists International Association was set up for individuals of any political persuasion willing to sign up with the anti-fascist struggle – there was no emphasis on style or subject matter. Whilst the Party’s own leading artists, James Boswell, Clive Branson and James Holland, occasionally produced a study of work, only Cliff Rowe, a lesser talent, stands out for making labour his principal subject matter. However, up in the North-East, the Ashington Group, which contained Party sympathizers, evolved as a school of non-professional artists for whom the mining community was the most popular subject.

The Imperial War Museum proved to be the most assiduous sponsors of occupational art during the Second World War, enrolling in the task of showing workers engaged in war production such notable figures as Graham Sutherland, David Bomberg, Stanley Spencer and Laura Knight. After that war, the National Coal Board assembled an impressive collection of art focused on the mining industry, somewhat spoiled by too many portraits of bureaucrats from both sides of the industry. When we look at the vast collection assembled by the Arts Council, however, we cannot but feel uncomfortable at the relatively small representation of the art of work. Almost as meagre a holding in respect of industrial work is to be found in the Tate Gallery’s collection. (Continued on next page)

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Front cover, Back cover

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