The Redfern Gallery
Linocuts from the Grosvenor School
Linocuts from the Grosvenor School
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Sybil Andrews, Cyril E. Power, Lill Tschudi
Founded in 1923 The Redfern Gallery was from its very outset a leading force in the promotion of modern fine art prints in all the printmaking media, including colour linocut.
The First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts took place at the Redfern in 1929, organised by Claude Flight, a pioneer and passionate advocate of the technique.
Flight taught linocut at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art between 1926 and 1930. His students Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews were both involved with the school from its foundation – Power as lecturer in the history of architecture and Andrews as school secretary. Flight’s other students came from further afield – notably the Australians Ethel Spowers and Dorrit Black and the young Lill Tschudi from Switzerland. Annual exhibitions of British colour prints were held at the Redfern throughout the 1930s. Many of these were highly successful with some travelling as far afield as the USA, Canada, Australia and China. After a long period of almost complete obscurity the linocuts reemerged in the early 1980s with shows at Michael Parkin and Redfern. Today what are now referred to as ‘Grosvenor School’ prints have become some of the most collectable, popular and iconic images in British printmaking history.
Image: CYRIL EDWARD POWER 1872-1951, Speed Trial, c. 1932
The linocut print is not simple or easy. First the carving of the blocks – each in itself can be exciting, a low-relief carving in its own right. The long careful printing, which is hard work, several times each block , all take energy and time.
Sybil Andrews in Sark, Channel Islands, 1934. ©Sybil Andrews Estate
Cyril E. Power in the New Forest, Hampshire, 1936. Power entitled this photograph: L'Aprés-midi d’un Faune. © Late Dr E. R. Roper Power
Sybil Andrews was born in 1898 in Bury St Edmunds. In 1922 she moved to London where attended Heatherley School of Art where Iain Macnab was principal. After graduating in 1925 she and Cyril Power joined Macnab’s newly established Grosvenor School of Modern Art where she became school secretary. She and Power attended Claude Flight’s linocut classes at this time and both exhibited in the First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts in 1929. They had a close working relationship and, between 1930 and 1938, shared a studio in Hammersmith. Along with Power Andrews is considered one of Flight’s finest pupils and among the greatest exponents of the medium. After emigrating to Canada in the late 40s Andrews taught the technique of linocut. She also continued working in the medium throughout her entire life.
Cyril Power was born in Chelsea in 1872. He had a first career as a successful architect with his own practice. In his early fifties he decided to give up practicing architecture and went on to become one of the pioneers and leading exponents of the colour linocut. In 1922 he moved to London with Sybil Andrews where they both attended Heatherley’s School of Art at which Iain Macnab was principal. In 1925 they both joined Macnab’s newly formed Grosvenor School of Modern Art where Power lectured on architecture and Andrews became school secretary. Both attended Claude Flight’s linocut classes and participated in Flight’s First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts at the Redfern Gallery in 1929. Power’s dynamic, futuristic prints of the London underground and sporting events are among the most iconic of the Grosvenor School images. Even at that time it was Power’s work that attracted the most attention from critics.
Born in Switzerland in 1911, Lill Tschudi studied at the Grosvenor School from 1929-30, where she attended Claude Flight’s classes in linocut. Her vibrant linocuts, inspired by jazz bands, sporting events and the pace of modern life, were exhibited throughout the 1930s in shows organised by Claude Flight at the Redfern Gallery and at the Ward Gallery. She also studied in Paris with André Lhote, Gino Severini and Fernand Léger. Linocut remained her medium of choice throughout her life. In 1986, Tschudi was awarded the Swiss national print prize in recognition of her life’s work.