Vanessa Bell (1879-1961)
Bold in colour and briskly painted, the present work is a fine example of Bell’s work from the latter half of her career...
This atmospheric view of the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore (‘Church of the Most Holy Redeemer’) in Venice was painted by Vanessa Bell, one of the most prominent English artists of the twentieth century.
Vanessa Bell is most commonly associated with the Bloomsbury Group, a group of liberally-minded artists, intellectuals and writers who were particularly prominent during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Although this was indeed a defining period for Bell, her involvement with the Bloomsbury Group often dominates our view of her life and career, and as a result her later works are often overlooked. This situation, however, is now beginning to change, and in 2017 The Dulwich Picture Gallery staged a major retrospective show of Bell’s work which included a number of expressive later works in oils.
Bold in colour and briskly painted, the present work is a fine example of Bell’s work from the latter half of her career. The present work was probably painted in 1948 when Bell was in Venice and it was exhibited in an exhibition of contemporary art at the Russell Cotes Art Gallery in Bournemouth the following year. Two other works which were almost certainly painted on the same trip are in private collections, one of which appears to be either a preparatory study for this work or a smaller secondary version, albeit with minor differences.
 Il Redentore from across the Lagoon, Venice. Sold through Christie’s, South Kensington, 13 July 2000, lot 42; Ponte dell’Accademia, Venice. Sold through Christie’s, South Kensington, 13 July 2000, lot 46