ISBN: 9781848220485 • Publication: October 28, 2010
DescriptionMargaret Mellis (1914-2009) was an artist of diverse skills: a painter, a maker of collages and reliefs and a sculptor. She was a key figure in British Modernism and with her first husband, the author and critic Adrian Stokes, was pivotal in establishing the influential artists' colony in St Ives. Surprisingly, relatively little has been written about Mellis. This book, which incorporates groundbreaking new research, is the first comprehensive monograph on this important artist.
After first meeting Adrian Stokes in Paris, Mellis moved to London to be near him and studied, with Stokes, at the Euston Road School. The pair married in 1938 and moved to Cornwall in 1939 where they set up house in Carbis Bay. Here they entertained some of the leading literary and artistic luminaries of the day. During her St Ives period, Mellis' work developed from painting to collage and relief under the tutelage of Ben Nicholson and Naum Gabo. She returned to a more realistic form of painting when her marriage came to an end and she left Cornwall in 1946. Following a period in France with the artist Francis Davison, whom she married in 1948, the couple settled in Suffolk in 1950.
Here Mellis continued her exploration into colour and form. The shifts and developments within her oeuvre brought in large-scale abstract paintings in the 1960s, and culminated in an extended series of dynamic and original constructions made from driftwood which first began to appear in 1980.
Skillfully unravelling the complexities of Mellis' oeuvre in the context of her fascinating life, Andrew Lambirth presents an unrivalled account of a truly remarkable artist and woman. Including a wealth of visual material, which illustrates Mellis' unique vision, Margaret Mellis combines insightful analysis with outstanding imagery and as such is essential reading for anyone interested in Modern British Art.