Born in Scotland and brought up in India, Grant set up his own studio in Fitzroy Square in 1910, having followed the advice of French painter Simon Bussy to take up painting. Grant’s new style of painting was first to manifest itself in the works that he submitted to the 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist artworks that was organised by critic, Roger Fry. This cemented Grant’s status as one of the central figures of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals and cultural figures. Grant, who like many of the Group’s members led a Bohemian existence, conducted relationships with several fellow members of the Bloomsbury set, including Strachey, economist John Maynard Keynes – whose rooms at Cambridge Grant decorated – and fellow artist, Vanessa Bell, with whom Grant pursued an unconventional but intimate and long-lasting relationship. With Bell, Grant worked in the Omega Workshops that were established by Fry in 1913 and whose aim was to incorporate Post-Impressionist developments in painting to the...

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Born in Scotland and brought up in India, Grant set up his own studio in Fitzroy Square in 1910, having followed the advice of French painter Simon Bussy to take up painting. Grant’s new style of painting was first to manifest itself in the works that he submitted to the 1910 exhibition of Post-Impressionist artworks that was organised by critic, Roger Fry. This cemented Grant’s status as one of the central figures of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals and cultural figures. Grant, who like many of the Group’s members led a Bohemian existence, conducted relationships with several fellow members of the Bloomsbury set, including Strachey, economist John Maynard Keynes – whose rooms at Cambridge Grant decorated – and fellow artist, Vanessa Bell, with whom Grant pursued an unconventional but intimate and long-lasting relationship. With Bell, Grant worked in the Omega Workshops that were established by Fry in 1913 and whose aim was to incorporate Post-Impressionist developments in painting to the decorative arts. Significantly, the Omega Workshops were an experimental design collective, aiming to dissolve the barrier between the fine and decorative arts, bringing them together through boldly patterned rugs, linen, furniture and ceramics.


In 1921 Duncan Grant visited the South of France for five months, from October, with Vanessa Bell and her family. Grant painted several canvases throughout his time in the South of France, notably a view from La Maison Blanche, a villa which they rented just outside St Tropez, which is currently in the collection of the Tate. The present work which depicts Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, a Catholic church in St Tropez. In contrast to the bright colours which governed Grant’s work before the start of the First World War, the present earthy tones in View from St. Tropez reflect on and celebrate the harmony between the natural landscape and the town below. Richard Shone succinctly classifies Grant’s style during the early 1920’s as ‘notable for sober but warm colour, an elimination of detail, firm contour’.[1]


After their trip, in May 1922 Vanessa held her first one-artist exhibition at the Independent Gallery. Here she sold seven pictures and drawings by the day after the opening, most successful of which were the still lifes and interiors she painted in St. Tropez, a testament to the success of the pair’s trip.[2]



[1] Shone, R., (1999) The Art of Bloomsbury: Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell, and Duncan Grant. London: Tate Gallery.

[2] Shone, R., (1976) Bloomsbury Portraits: Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and their circle. London: Phaidon Press Limited. p.218-219.

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500 Years of British Art