In "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown," Woolf writes that "on or about December, 1910, human character changed" (194 in Virginia Woolf Reader, ed. Mitchell A. Leaska). This was roughly the time of the first Post-Impressionist exhibition in London, "Manet and the Post-Impressionists," arranged by Roger Fry, Clive Bell, and Desmond MacCarthy. Mark Hussey has a good discussion of the term "Post-Impressionist," including a description of that exhibition and comments and cross-references regarding the December 1910 quotation. Below are some links on post-impressionist art, including images and explanations:
Includes this explanation: "The term [post-impressionist] was coined in 1910 by the British art critic Roger Fry, in the title of Manet and the Post-Impressionists, an exhibition he organized at the Grafton Galleries, London. Fry also organized a second post-Impressionist exhibition two years later. The artists who were best represented at the first exhibition were Cezanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh, and these three are regarded as the most important and influential of the post-Impressionists, closely followed by Georges Seurat."
Has links to paintings, and this explanation of the term post-impressionist:
"A term first used by Fry and adopted by Bell to describe modern art since Impressionism. The 1910 and 1912 exhibitions of French art organized by them were confusingly entitled ‘Manet and the Post-Impressionists’, although they included the work of Matisse, Picasso and Braque. The term is now taken to mean those artists who followed the Impressionists and to some extent rejected their ideas. They include van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Seurat, Signac and Toulouse-Lautrec. Many were involved with the Société des Artistes Indépendants established in Paris in 1884. Generally, they considered Impressionism too casual or too naturalistic, and sought a means of exploring emotion in paint."
John Singer Sargent Thumbnails, 1910
A page about the American-born painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) that talks about what was going on in 1910, including a sketch of the dying King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, whose name Woolf gives to the generation of novelists before her, the Edwardians (Bennett, Galsworthy, Wells). Sargent was an extremely successful "society" painter, trained in France and working mostly in Europe. Specializing in portraits, he is not usually regarded as a post-impressionist, although Fry identifies him as a supporter of them). Sargent was one of the painters Vanessa Bell studied under, and her son, Quentin Bell, writes that she had a great respect for him (Bloomsbury Recalled 48).
Roger Fry (1866-1934)
Encyclopedia Britannica article about Fry, with a self-portrait. Woolf was writing his biography at the same time she was writing "A Sketch of the Past."
Arts and Crafts Movement
Encyclopedia Britannic article about the Arts & Crafts movement. The Omega Workshop that Fry started in 1913 (and that Vanessa Bell participated in) were in that tradition. More about the Omega Workshops and Bloomsbury.
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