The Artists of the Grosvenor School

Sybil Andrews  |  Claude Flight  |  William Greengrass  |  Cyril Power  |  Ethel Spowers  |  Lill Tschudi

The Grosvenor School of Modern Art opened in 1925 at 33 Warwick Way, just behind London’s Victoria Station. The principal was the wood engraver Iain MacNab; Frank Rutter, an eminent critic and writer lectured on Modern Painters from Cézanne to Picasso; Cyril Power lectured on The Form and Structure of Buildings, Historical Ornament and Symbolism and The Outline of Architectural Styles and 24 year old Sybil Andrews was the School Secretary. Here Claude Flight taught his technique of linocut printing and gathered a coterie of students that included Power and Andrews, William Greengrass, Lill Tschudi and Edith Lawrence. Also amongst Flight’s students were the Antipodeans Ethel Spowers, Eveline Syme and Dorrit Black; all three later played a prominent part in organizing exhibitions in Australia. Their work has found a very firm place in the annals of twentieth-century printmaking and has stimulated an international circle of collectors attracted by the energy, colour and modernity of the prints. Examples can be found in many international museums including the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, MoMa New York and national museums in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Osborne Samuel are the leading international dealers in the linocuts of the Grosvenor School, with decades of experience and many seminal gallery exhibitions and at leading international art fairs including Masterpiece, the London Original Print Fair each spring and the IFPDA Fine Print Fair in New York City every autumn. The gallery also publishes widely on the subject including catalogue raisonnés of the leading artists.

In 2019 Gordon Samuel of Osborne Samuel Gallery curated the exhibition ‘Cutting Edge – Modernist British Printmaking’ at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, the world’s oldest purpose-built picture gallery. It was the largest exhibition ever assembled of these dynamic linocuts with loans from the gallery as well as private collections and museums in the UK, US and Australia. The exhibition had the highest attendance for any summer exhibition at the museum with 90,000 visitors. The exhibition catalogue has been reprinted three times.

This autumn sees a lot of activity around the Grosvenor School linocuts. Firstly, Jenny Uglow’s new book Sybil and Cyril: Cutting Through Time, the story of two of the Grosvenor School’s leading artists will be launched at Osborne Samuel Gallery from 18 November to Christmas 2021 with an exhibition of selected work of linocuts, monotypes and drawings. Jenny is a renowned British biographer, historian, critic and publisher. She was an editorial director of Chatto & Windus. She has written critically acclaimed biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hogarth, Thomas Bewick, and Edward Lear.

In 2019 our good friends Leslie and Johanna Garfield of New York donated 700 Modern British Prints to New York’s Metropolitan Museum. The majority of the works are that of the Grosvenor School artists, predominantly by Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power. The Met will be exhibiting a number of prints from the donation in an exhibition British Prints 1913-1939 with an accompanying catalogue published on 21 October 2021 – the exhibition runs from 1 November through to 9 January 2022.

Many of you know that we are regular exhibitors at the IFPDA Fine Print Fair in New York each October but sadly, because of the world health crisis, for the second year there will only be an online version 15-31 October. The IFPDA will also celebrate Print Month from 4-29 October with an exciting programme of print events.

As part of these events, on Wednesday, October 27th at 12 noon New York time and 5pm UK time, Jenny Uglow and Gordon Samuel of the Osborne Samuel will be on a live webinar broadcast discussing Jenny’s new book, especially for the Metropolitan Museum and the IFPDA. All will be welcome to view the broadcast and we will announce how nearer the time.

During our exhibition at our gallery in November-December we will broadcast another webinar with Jenny from the gallery, with a small invited audience, restrictions allowing, on Tuesday 23 November. Again, details will be announced nearer the time so do keep an eye on our website.

SYBIL ANDREWS

CLAUDE FLIGHT

WILLIAM GREENGRASS

CYRIL POWER

ETHEL SPOWERS

LILL TSCHUDI

URSULA FOOKES