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Copyright © 2003 Estate of the Artist, Courtesy of Henrietta Garnett.
1458 - 'Tulips (Parrot Tulips)' - 1911
Tulips (Parrot Tulips), 1911
Duncan Grant (1885 -1978)
This lush, vibrant still life evoked strong reactions that reflected the differing attitudes to modern art and the influence of avant-garde French painting in Edwardian England. Grant’s fellow Bloomsbury Group member, the eminent biographer and intellectual Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) was outraged by the work and wrote:
‘It is a disgraceful picture. It has neither colour, drawing nor composition. Its technique is atrocious and it is incompetent beyond measure…this not art at all’.
However, for Sir Edward Marsh (1872-1983), the noted scholar and 20th century patron of British art, Grant’s painting made him turn to modern art. Marsh recalled:
‘The change of heart which led me from ancient to modern (collecting) must have come to pass in 1911, when I brought Duncan grant’s Tulips painted in that year and still one of my best treasures’.